MISSION, Texas – A South Texas family pulled out all the stops to make sure their son would have his own video store after their local Blockbuster closed.
“With Autism, you have your good days and your bad days. This is one thing that worked,” said Hector Zuniga.
When the Zuniga family learned their Blockbuster store in Mission, Texas was closing its doors for good last week, they knew it would devastate their son, Hector Jr.
“He was walking differently. He was not himself, so he knew he was losing something,” said Zuniga.
Hector Jr. loved visiting the video store and picking out a favorite DVD, like "Barney and Friends." With only a handful of Blockbusters left in the country, it was their last chance to save the vintage video rental experience for their 20-year-old son with Autism.
MY AUTISTIC BROTHER WAS SAD THAT BLOCK BUSTER WAS CLOSING DOWN SO MY PARENTS MADE A MINI ONE AT HOME FOR HIM! 😭❤️ pic.twitter.com/B4oo74NBvi— jaavii (@Javiii_Zuniga) April 23, 2017
“For about seven years he was going to the store once or twice a week,” said Zuniga.
As the store cleared out merchandise, the Zunigas bought a video rack with more than 60 movies.
They set it up at home, brought Hector Jr. into the room and covered his eyes for the big reveal.
“Once I took down my hand and yelled ‘surprise,' he was just staring at it,” said Zuniga. “His eyes were getting bigger and bigger every second.”
Hector Jr.’s excitement was captured in four pictures that were later uploaded to Twitter by his brother Javier.
No one could have guessed how fast the family’s love would spread on social media.
“I just wanted to share something that my parents did that I thought was amazing,” said Javier.
The Zunigas said the past week has brought them closer, not just as a family, but also within the Autism community.
“All of the sudden the planet knows what my son looks like,” said Zuniga. “My son has friends all over the world. That was one big, big thing for me.”
The Zuniga family said the only thing missing to fully replicate the Hector Jr.’s routine is the Blockbuster movie drop box. They said Dish, the company that acquired Blockbuster’s assets, contacted them Monday and plans to donate one soon.