A heartwarming shopping trip to Target turned into a cruel prank for T.J. Lyles II and his 8-year-old son, Gabe, who has hearing loss. They were approached by three strangers who offered them a chance to participate in a “fill-a-cart challenge” for a popular YouTuber. Excited to meet their son’s idol, they agreed. However, halfway through the challenge, the men ran away, leaving the blindfolded father and son shocked and disappointed. It turned out that the men had no affiliation with the YouTuber and the challenge was a fake.
Gabe, who was devastated by the prank, was in tears while T.J. Lyles expressed his anger and frustration on Facebook. The post caught the attention of Melissa Lapila Hallgren, chair of the town’s Commission for Persons with Disabilities. She reached out to T.J. Lyles, wanting to help. With the support of her commission, she allocated funds to assist Gabe. They also approached Target, which agreed to match their donation of $200 for a shopping spree.
Gabe’s spirits were lifted when he learned about the surprise shopping spree. With a budget of $400, he filled his cart with toys, games, and stuffed animals. The generosity and kindness shown by the community brought joy to Gabe and his family, and T.J. Lyles expressed his gratitude.
Despite the distress caused by the prank, the incident taught Gabe an important lesson about being cautious and not believing everything that seems too good to be true. The support and positive outcome also highlighted the existence of good-hearted individuals willing to help others.
The incident gained attention after one of the pranksters posted a YouTube video, but T.J. Lyles believed it was edited to hide crucial details. MrBeast, the YouTuber whom the pranksters claimed to be associated with, did not respond to requests for comment. However, the Lyles family received contact from representatives of the YouTuber.
Though the prank was hurtful, the community’s response and the generosity shown towards Gabe provided a silver lining. T.J. Lyles hopes that this incident will inspire others to perform acts of kindness and remind people to be cautious in similar situations.