A 10-year-old boy went viral for his re-creation of James Shaw Jr., the man who tackled a gunman at a Tennessee Waffle House.
Fifth-grader Tayir Thomas told his mother that “he wanted to be a real hero not a fictional one” for “Super Hero Day” at his school. He knew exactly who he wanted to dress up as for Halloween and it wasn’t the usual caped crusader.
“I didn’t want to be a fictional hero or a cartoon hero I just wanted to be somebody that did something real,” Thomas told WTVF.
The 10-year-old looked to Shaw for his inspiration and wore a “live” sweatshirt similar to the Nashville hero. He also wrapped his hand like Shaw’s when he was injured during the shooting.
“I showed him the news footage of James and said he really saved some people’s lives,” Tayir’s mother Britt Thomas told Yahoo Lifestyle. “He said James was brave, and he asked if he could be like him.”
Shaw’s story took the nation by storm in April after wrestling gunman Travis Reinking who killed four people in an Antioch, Tennessee, Waffle House. The 29-year-old grabbed the gunman’s gun, burned his palm in the process and flung the firearm away.
The hero told reporters at a press conference in April, “I chose to react because I didn’t see any other way of me living, and that’s all I wanted to do. I just wanted to live.”
Shaw never considered himself a hero and was honored that Tayir decided to dress up as him.
“Truly honored and flattered to be the ‘Superhero’ you dressed up as, you inspire me to keep inspiring Love Young King,” Shaw wrote on his Instagram after re-posting Tayir’s photo.
Tayir was in for another surprise after Shaw showed up to his school Union Elementary School in Gallatin, Tennessee.
“I thought I was dreaming, but it wasn’t a dream,” Tayir said.
Many of the 10-year-old’s classmates had “no idea” who Shaw was but Tayir didn’t mind explaining to them at all.
“I’m very inspired by him, very moved by him and thankful that he wanted to dress up like me,” Shaw told WZTV.”
Britt’s photo of her son went viral with over hundreds of shares on Facebook. The proud mother wrote, “Today at school is Super Hero Day! I’m so glad my son has a local hero to admire #wafflehousehero.”