An 8-year-old boy with hearing impairment was overwhelmed by heartwarming community support after he was pranked by strangers while shopping at Target.
Gabe Lyle, a boy from Southington, Connecticut was shopping with his father when he became a victim of a mean prank orchestrated by a group of strangers.
They interrupted him while shopping and told the boy they were associated with the famous YouTuber, Mr. Beast.
Just hearing the name of his favorite content creator made the little boy beam in delight. He was so happy and excited to hear that they picked him to participate in a game.
The strangers suggested a fill-a-cart challenge, where they had to be blindfolded and the strangers would pay for whatever they managed to put in the cart within 30 seconds.
Gabe and his dad TJ happily agreed to the strangers’ proposal, trusting that they were really affiliated with Mr. Beast. However, what happened next was far from what the father and son were expecting.
While they were doing the supposed challenge, the strangers ran away, leaving them in disbelief and disappointment.
“It broke my heart because I thought my dreams were coming true,” Gabe said.
It turned out that the strangers were up for nothing good and were just pranking them, using the name of a popular person. This event did not only frustrate TJ but also made him angry because the pranksters targeted his son for his disability.
“My son leaned in and said he couldn’t hear them, and they said that’s why we are choosing you for this challenge, because of your hearing loss,” TJ shared. “When you say because of his special need, that’s why you chose him. I can’t at that point let it go.”
TJ could not help but turn to Facebook to express his anger and disappointment. “All three men videotaped this with their phones,” TJ wrote.
“I do not know what type of sick individual targets kids with special needs. I understand as an adult I should have known better but honestly I did not think someone would be as disgusting to stoop that low, truly I hope these three can live with themselves knowing they ruined a kid’s day and left him in tears.”
A lot of people sympathized with TJ and Gabe and filled their day with heartwarming community support. After seeing TJ’s post on social media, the Town of Southington Commission for Persons with Disabilities gave Gabe a $200 gift card, which the boy was so grateful for.
Target also offered a gift car for the same amount so Gabe could enjoy shopping for his favorite toys. “I picked out Nerf guns, water balloons, and water guns,” said Gabe, after his shopping spree. “It made me feel heartwarming and happy.”
Mr. Beast is also trying to find Gabe to give him the time of his life. After seeing a Twitter post about the cruel prank, Mr. Beast responded, “Give me his info!”
He did not say what he is going to do once he meets the boy but knowing his kindness and generosity, he is likely to spoil Gabe and give him a memorable experience.
Netizens were thankful for everyone who made Gabe feel better after an upsetting event. “Thank you to the town and the Target store for turning an awful situation into something positive for this young man.
People are just cruel. Hope someone comes forward and outs these awful individuals,” wrote Facebook user Janel Powers.
Gabe and TJ were also thankful for the gift cards and the heartwarming community support they received. It would be difficult for them to move on from this horrifying experience but the love and support they got from the community will surely be etched in their hearts forever.
Watch Gabe’s bittersweet story in the video below: