This Family Built an At-Home Blockbuster for Their Movie-Loving Autistic Son
With his favorite shop due to close, they re-created the store experience
This article originally appeared on TIME
For Hector Andres Zuniga, a 20-year-old autistic Texan, regular trips to Blockbuster have been part of his life since he was young. But with the classic movie rental chain finding its existence in jeopardy, declaring bankruptcy in 2010 and shutting down most of its stores in the years since, Hector's favorite weekly activity has been at risk.
A few months ago, employees of his local shop told his parents that their outpost would be closing its doors. They had watched Hector come through for years, picking up favorite titles like Barney and Blue's Clues. (According to his father, "Barney" is one of the few words he articulates.) Concerned about losing their son's beloved hobby, the family crafted a plan: they would buy up many pieces of the inventory that Blockbuster was selling, from their son's preferred DVDs to official Blockbuster signs.
"Those employees really came out to bat for my son," Zuniga's father told the Huffington Post. "They really paid attention and did a hell of a job." So when the shop finally shuttered on April 23, the Zuniga family was able to bring Hector Andres to his very own at-home DVD collection, complete with Blockbuster branding. It was a great success.
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And to top it off, his younger brother's Tweet about the family project quickly picked up attention online, turning viral as well-wishers appreciated the thoughtfulness that went into this unusual project.