For a lot of the nation, Blockbuster is a blast from the previous, however for the Zuniga household, the video chain had been an necessary a part of their routine for near a decade.
Hector and Rosa Zuniga visited the local Blockbuster in Mission, Texas, no less than as soon as every week with their oldest son, Hector Andres. The 20-year-previous has a nonverbal type of autism, and the one phrases he did not lose when indicators of the dysfunction began surfacing have been “Mickey” and “Barney.”
“He identified Blockbuster with Barney because that’s where he would go get Barney,” Hector Zuniga advised TODAY. “So every single time we passed in front of the store he would point at it and say, ‘Barney, Barney.’ That was his way of saying that he wanted to go to Blockbuster.”
For the final seven years, the household would go to the store, cease by the youthful Hector’s favourite part for a couple of films and a few snacks, and make their approach again house. “He liked going there. It was kind of his thing,” Zuniga stated.
The staff on the store knew the household nicely, and understood how necessary the routine was for Hector, so once they heard they might be closing in April, they pulled Rosa Zuniga apart to let her know the dangerous information.
“My wife was very, very upset because we knew that … this is one of the few things that Hector really, really liked,” Zuniga defined.
Knowing their son does not deal with change properly, they got here up with a plan. They determined if the Blockbuster on the town was closing, they’d merely need to open a brand new one in their very own residence. As quickly because the store began promoting off their inventory, they have been the primary individuals there to grab up all of his favourite films; they even purchased one of many store’s empty racks.
They purchased all their son’s favourite titles, and ended up shopping for round 60 DVDs altogether. “I mean, we could have gone and bought any rack and just written down the titles and bought them on Amazon,” Zuniga stated. “But we wanted the Blockbuster boxes. We wanted him to put the Blockbuster box in the back, and the original cover for the DVD in the front, just like they had them in the store.”
The Blockbuster staff have been completely happy to assist the household with the re-creation. They even helped disassemble the rack and cargo it into Rosa’s automotive. “The employees of the store went way, way, way beyond the call of duty,” Zuniga stated. “I can’t say enough good things about them.”
This previous Sunday, when Blockbuster was set to shut its doorways, the Zuniga household made one final cease to the video store. “We honestly were expecting the worst,” the daddy informed TODAY. “He’s a sweetheart of a boy … but he has his bad moments. I guess we all do.”
After strolling via the almost empty store, Hector grabbed his dad’s forearm to point out he was upset.
Zuniga and his spouse defined to their son that this stuff occur, and that that they had a shock for him again at residence. After a couple of minutes, Hector calmed down and even ended up discovering a couple of extra of his favourite films stashed away. They stated their goodbyes on the store and went residence.
Zuniga and his youthful son, Javier, 19, spent the remainder of the afternoon placing collectively the cabinets, arranging the DVDs (as near the order from the store as attainable) and putting the store’s previous Blockbuster indicators proper on the prime.
When they have been prepared for the large reveal, Zuniga coated Hector’s eyes with his arms, walked him into the room and uncovered the shock.
“At first you could see his eyes getting bigger and bigger,” Zuniga stated. “He was pointing at it almost as if he couldn’t believe what he was seeing.”
The second was very emotional for Hector and the entire household. “You could see his eyes — the corners of his eyes were starting to tear up,” Zuniga stated. “My wife, by then, had lost it … She was crying buckets, and I honestly wasn’t that far off.”
Javier Zuniga captured the tender second in a collection of pictures. He posted them to Twitter, the place they’ve since been appreciated greater than 127,000 occasions. The household has been blown away by the response they’ve gotten. “Honestly, we were totally flabbergasted,” Hector Zuniga stated. “We didn’t expect this.”
As for the mother and father, they’re simply happy to have the ability to do that for their son. “We were happy that he was happy,” stated Zuniga.
“We felt that he was going to be OK and we put that in the ‘win’ column,” he stated. “Because with autism, well, every once in a while you get to win one … this was one of those.”