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Southington boy surprised with shopping spree after heartbreaking prank

<i></i><br/>A heartbreaking prank played on 8-year-old Gabe Lyles

A heartbreaking prank played on 8-year-old Gabe Lyles

By Cassidy Williams

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    SOUTHINGTON, Connecticut (WFSB) — A story of heartbreak turned into a dream come true this past weekend for a Southington boy.

It started out as a typical trip to Target on Saturday July 1st for 8-year-old Gabe Lyles and his dad TJ.

Then TJ says three men approached them and said they were working with the youtuber ‘Mr. Beast.’

“They said they wanted to do a fill-a-cart challenge where we would be blindfolded, within 30 seconds whatever we could put within the cart they would pay for,” said TJ Lyles.

Mr. Beast is one of Gabe’s favorite youtubers. Mr. Beast often makes videos about challenges where he gives away free stuff, so TJ and Gabe believed that the men were working for the show.

They both put on a blindfold and started filling their cart, and then TJ heard the men running away.

“My heart sank. The very last thing I want to do in this world is hurt him at all in any way shape or form,” said TJ.

“It broke my heart because I thought my dreams were coming true,” said Gabe.

It turns out the ‘shopping cart challenge’ was actually just a mean prank. The men were not affiliated with Mr. Beast, and it was one comment in particular that upset TJ.

“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,” said TJ. “When you say because of his special need, that’s why you chose him. At that point, I can’t at that point let it go.”

TJ then wrote about the incident on Facebook, and the community quickly responded.

The Town of Southington Commission for Persons with Disabilities gave Gabe a $200 gift card, and Target matched it.

On Sunday, Gabe’s dreams of a shopping spree came true.

“I picked out Nerf guns, water balloons, and water guns,” said Gabe. “It made me feel heartwarming and happy.”

TJ says this shows how generous the Southington community can be.

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