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Family Recreates Blockbuster Store for Autistic Son After Local Branch Closes

For some, Blockbuster are more than just nostalgia…


    For all of us retro folk, we remember going to the Blockbuster video stores to rent out our favorite movies as if it was yesterday. For all of you that don’t even know what Blockbuster is…well, we feel sorry for you.

    But for some people, Blockbuster stores are so much more than simple cinematic nostalgia – for some people, going to the store and renting out movies can be some of the most important aspects of their routines.

    The Zuniga family, from Mission, Texas, visited their local Blockbuster store every single week with their 20-year-old son, Hector Andres. Hector suffers from a form of nonverbal autism, which he contracted at a young age – but not before he had learned the words, ‘Barney’ and ‘Mickey.’

    Hector Zuniga, Hector’s father, has spoken to TODAY:

    He identified Blockbuster with Barney because that’s where he would go get Barney. 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.

    The Zuniga family have been visiting their local Blockbuster branch for the past seven years, renting out Hector’s favorite movies, picking up snacks and giving Hector the routine he needed. Their family had become so familiar with the store that it’s employees knew just how important it was to Hector and his family. But when the employees found out that the store would be closing, they pulled Hector’s mother, Rosa, to one side of the store to tell her before she found out elsewhere.

    Hector and Rosa were suddenly faced with a dilemma – they knew how important Blockbuster and their routine was to Hector’s welfare. But what could they do if it was closing down?

    So they came up with the best idea. Ever.

    The two of them decided that if they couldn’t go to Blockbuster anymore, they’d make their own Blockbuster store in their own home. The family bought all of Hector’s favorite movies from the store and even bought one of the empty racks.

    Altogether, Hector now has around 60 of his favorite movies under his own roof, on his own Blockbuster shelf, with his very own Blockbuster signs. When his new home-store was revealed to him, Hector couldn’t believe it.

    At first, you could see his eyes getting bigger and bigger, he was pointing at it almost as if he couldn’t believe what he was seeing. You could see his eyes – the corners of his eyes were starting to tear up. My wife, by then, had lost it…she was crying buckets, and I honestly wasn’t that far off.

    Yeah, us too. #ParentingGoals

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