Walker Hayes Gives Fan With Autism an Unforgettable Night [Watch]
Walker Hayes is one of the nicest performers in country music, and he demonstrated that fact all over again when he went out of his way to make a special evening for a fan with autism.
Hayes has dominated both country radio and social media with his viral No. 1 hit, "Fancy Like." What started as a song about taking his wife Lainey on a date night at Applebee's has turned into a global phenomenon.
The catchy song has impacted many people, including Matt, who is an avid fan of both Hayes and Applebee's. Matt has autism, and recently a video of him receiving a birthday surprise went viral. In the clip, Matt's former first grade teacher, Tara Tuchel — with whom he has kept in touch — takes him to his favorite restaurant for his birthday and gives him a "Fancy Like" T-shirt. His joy-filled reaction captured the hearts of thousands of people.
After Hayes and Applebee's saw the video, they went to work creating a magical moment for Matt. They arranged a Meet & Greet for a show that Matt was already attending. Matt almost couldn't contain himself when he got the news, and he immediately called his mom. Of course, this moment was also caught on camera. We see Matt hopping up and down with excitement before approaching Hayes.
"I know you, brother Matt," Hayes says before wrapping him in a big hug. "I know it's you. You're my favorite video all year, of you in Applebee's. Seriously, I watched you 1,000 times."
He then asks if the shirt Matt is wearing is the shirt. It is.
"Your joy is infectious," Hayes tells Matt after telling him that he has shared his video with more than 100 people. The two then pose for a photo, and the smile on Matt's face says it all.
Tuchel has shared several videos of Matt's meeting with Hayes. She noted that she told Matt they would only have a minute with Hayes, but with all of the videos she has shared, the two had quite a bit of time together.
In Part 2 of the series, Matt asked Hayes if he really does go to Applebee's. The "Fancy Like" singer then shares the story of taking Lainey there in high school. Hayes also tells Matt about his elusive gold card and invites Matt to join him for an Applebee's visit so he can drop that card on the table.
The Part 3 video is equally heartwarming, as Hayes signs a shirt for Matt, but also asks Matt to sign his shirt. According to Tuchel, the "AA" singer then wore the shirt on stage and made sure to tell everyone about Matt during his show. He also had the cameraman display Matt's signature on the jumbotron.
Of course, no meeting with Hayes would be complete without some dancing. After all, "Fancy Like" took off on TikTok thanks to its signature dance challenge. In another video, we see Matt and Tuchel dancing with Hayes in their matching "Fancy Like" shirts.
Hayes is currently in between tours. The Fancy Like Tour wrapped in the spring, but he has another trek planned for the fall. The Glad You're Here Arena Tour — named after his book that was released earlier in 2022 — will launch on Sep. 29 and run through Nov. 12.