Wishes come true for Jonesville teen who gets to meet his hero

Published 11:24 pm Sunday, April 29, 2018


JONESVILLE — Brandon Beard got to meet his hero.

Brandon, 14, never watched cartoons as a child; instead, he opted for ‘Walker, Texas Ranger’ and anything with actor Chuck Norris in it, his mother Tammy Beard said.

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In Brandon’s bedroom, a cardboard cutout of Norris is propped up on a shelf. Stacks and stacks of “Walker, Texas Ranger” VHS tapes and DVDs line another wall, and several photos are scattered across the room.

“Chuck Norris is his hero,” Beard said. “Every time he sees a police officer, he runs to hug them because he loves Walker.”

On April 20, the Make-A-Wish Foundation helped Brandon hug the real Walker.

“He (Norris) was so kind,” said Carlos Beard, Brandon’s father. “If you didn’t know he was rich and famous, you would think he was one of us.”

Tammy, Carlos and Brandon loaded into their car Friday and drove to Dallas, where they found a host of people waiting to welcome them.

“When we got there, they had a banner with his name on it in the hotel lobby,” Tammy said. “Make-A-Wish is the real deal. They made his dream come true.”

The Make-A-Wish coordinators had scheduled a 15-minute meeting with Norris during a convention for fans, but Carlos said Norris stayed with them for well over an hour.

“They arm wrestled and talked,” Carlos Beard said. “He was nothing like I expected him to be.”

In a video the Make-A-Wish Foundation took of Brandon and Norris meeting, a woman off camera asks, “Do you want to tell him you love him?”

Brandon smiles and looks at Norris, who has his arm around him.

“Well,” Norris said, “I love him.”

Carlos and Tammy found out Brandon had Down Syndrome six weeks after he was born.

Doctors wanted, Tammy said, to test their child for Down Syndrome while she was still pregnant, but she refused.

“We said no matter what, even if something was wrong, he was still our child,” Carlos said. “No matter what, we loved him.”

Tammy said she and Carlos applied for the Make-A-Wish trip just four months ago, and that she never expected it to happen so quickly.

“You know, with Down Syndrome, they don’t expect them to live as long,” Carlos said. “But he doesn’t know. He doesn’t know he has a disability.”

And, Carlos said, he and Tammy want to keep it that way.

“I don’t want to say this, because I never want to lose him,” Tammy said, “but if he died tomorrow, he would die happy. He got to meet his hero.”