GALLATIN, Tenn. (WZTV) — It’s a great way to get out of math class, meeting your real life super hero. Tayir Thomas, a fifth grader at Union Stem Elementary School in Gallatin, got a nice treat on Halloween. He got a surprise visit from his hero, Waffle House hero James Shaw, Jr.
“I thought I was dreaming, but it wasn’t a dream,” said Thomas.
The boy's school and family planned the surprise after he dressed up like Shaw for superhero day during Red Ribbon Week.
“He’s been super, super excited about meeting him,” said mom Brittany Thomas.
Shaw came bearing gifts, this time swapping the usual hero's cape for a matching shirt. Shaw had a custom shirt made for Thomas with the word “live” on the front and the student's name on the back. Shaw has a shirt just like it.
“It blows my mind for sure. It makes me feel like what I did was right,” said Shaw.
Shaw became known as the Waffle House hero six months ago when he tackled a shooter who killed four people in the Antioch diner. The fifth grader said picking Shaw for superhero day was an easy choice.
“I didn’t want to be a fictional hero. I didn’t want to be a cartoon hero. I wanted to be somebody real that actually did something,” said Thomas.
“I’m very inspired by him, very moved by him and thankful that he wanted to dress up like me,’ said Shaw.
Now the two are forever bonded by inspiration, hope and matching superhero shirts.
“He really didn’t have to put his life in danger to save those people, but he did. I’m thankful,” said Thomas.
“I hope I continue to inspire people because he inspires me to influence more people. Much love to the young king,” said Shaw.
Shaw spent another hour visiting with other classes after leaving the boy's class. Visiting schools and talking with kids may be something for him to become accustomed to. Shaw encouraged the kids to vote. He tells FOX 17 News that Nashville may see his name on a ballot soon. He announced that he’s considering a run for Nashville mayor or a senate seat.