When Brandon Brundidge was three years old, he was diagnosed with autism. “His autism manifests as social phobia, and he’s very afraid of a lot of things—like being around and having conversations,” Sheletta Brundidge, the now-9-year-mother, old’s told TODAY Parents. “And he stammers, so he talks with his hand over his mouth, hoping to catch the stutters as they happen.” Brandon’s two siblings have also been diagnosed with autism, and because flying is difficult for the children, the Minnesota-based family prefers to holiday in their RV, driving to different states with-friendly sights.
Brandon first heard the phrase “Let’s go Brandon” used by Donald Trump supporters to express their disdain for President Joe Biden during a tour to Houston, Texas. Brundidge realised that her normally shy and nervous son had become unusually extroverted while attending the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. “‘Mom, these folks love me!’ my son kept saying as we drove through an RV park. ‘Boy, what are you speaking about?’ I asked “recalled the 40-year-old. “‘They put my signs up all over!’ he exclaimed. They had been waiting for me to arrive!’ I just noticed him gain a new sense of self-assurance.”
Brundidge was taken aback when her son expressed an interest in swimming in the RV park’s pool. “He’s afraid he’ll drown in the tub while I’m bathing him,” she explained. “He dislikes showering because he is afraid of getting water in his eyes. He instantly wanted to jump into the pool?” The young boy then asked his mother to remove his bike’s training wheels. Soon after, she noticed him approaching strangers and greeting them, telling them how well he was doing in school. Then he tried to ride his brother’s hoverboard on top of it all.
“I had no idea what was going on with my child,” Brundidge said. “He was initially scared. I’m fearful now. I was completely oblivious to what was going on.” Brandon told his mother to come to a halt while riding in a golf cart around the RV park, and it all began to make sense. “He said, ‘Mom, do you see my sign?'” she explained. “And then I saw that ‘Let’s Go Brandon’ flag,” says the narrator.
After a NASCAR race at the Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama, the term became a right-wing rallying cry. While NBC Sports reporter Kelli Stavast was conducting an interview with driver Brandon Brown, a crowd in the backdrop began chanting, “Get Lost Joe Biden,” and Stavast proposed on-air that the crowd was saying, “Let’s go Brandon.”
Brundidge said she knew what the term meant and could have taken her son aside silently and described that it was “really a rallying cry to offend the head of state,” but she couldn’t because she saw how much it intended to the little boy. “My son has just come to life,” she explained. “When I looked at him, he was beaming and looking happy. My other children had no idea what it meant, so they started chanting, “Let’s go Brandon!”” Brundidge was inspired to write a new book after the incident.
“Brandon Spots His Sign” is now Amazon’s No. 1 parenting book for children with special needs, as well as the No. 2 parenting book for mental illnesses. Brundidge said, “He single-handedly changed the meaning of ‘Let’s go Brandon.'” “I’ve gotten lots of messages from parents saying that’s what they tell their kids; emails from teachers and counsellors who say, ‘Let’s go Brandon,’ or use that term to push their kids on the spectrum who do something great.” The biggest shock of all came in mid-May, when Brandon and his family got a letter from none other than the President of the US.