In February, 35-year-old Army vet Jake Booth came down with double pneumonia and then, while in the hospital, had a heart attack that put him in a coma (which is terrible, but if you're going to have a heart attack, a hospital is a good a place as any to do it).
Doctors weren't sure he'd ever come out of it, and if he did, how much brain damage he might have suffered due to oxygen deprivation. After 48 days in a coma, Booth awoke, knew where he was, and recognized his daughter Eva, 6, and his son Aiden, 1. His speech was still impaired from the intubation and tracheotomy, but, in the kind of endorsement of which companies can only dream, he managed one very important sentence: "I want Taco Bell."
Booth's older brother, Jason Schwartz, told USA Today, "He actually said, out loud, 'I want Taco Bell.' That was the very first thing he said. . . When he starts getting into a full sentence, he can’t do it. But when he does one or two words at a time, you can definitely understand him. So when he asked for Taco Bell almost immediately, his friend Tyler definitely heard him say 'Taco Bell.' Tyler said, 'Do you want Taco Bell?' And Jake said, 'Yes.'"
Booth couldn't eat solid meals at first, but the day after doctors gave him the okay, he enjoyed eight and a half Taco Bell Crunchy Tacos. Dreams do come true. Especially when they are not that difficult to procure.
Schwartz said, "We’d all been waiting an entire month for him to eat those tacos. It was symbolic of the entire thing—more of a metaphor of him having woken up and being given a second chance at life."
Someone at Taco Bell saw the picture his friend Tyler posted on Reddit, and the fast food company responded by sending Booth some Taco Bell swag and a hand-written note.
Too bad it wasn't a hand-written check. According to Schwartz, Booth is still in the early stages of recovery, and Schwartz has started a GoFundMe page to help Booth's wife, Jasmine, and their kids, since Jason is not yet able to work.
Schwartz told USA Today, "I think a lot of people saw that video, and said, 'The guy’s eating tacos, what does he need donations for?' But the truth is, he has got years of therapy ahead of him. We really didn’t get a whole lot off almost two million hits, which is crazy. We want to make sure that people know he is not in the clear."
Hang in there, Jake. There are many, many more tacos in your future.