A video of a grieving Pasco family confronting a T-shirt shop manager is gaining social media attention this week.
The family of Rey Aranda was upset with GenX Clothing in Pasco for printing T-shirts with the boy’s photo that someone was selling around town.
The Chiawana High School freshman was a popular wrestler who killed himself last Friday.
Community members have shown their support for the family with dozens of messages on Facebook and Twitter, and more than $15,500 in donations to a GoFundMe account to help with funeral expenses.
But family members said they were not sanctioning efforts to hold car washes and sell T-shirts.
Dale Pesina of Pasco posted a six-minute video on Monday of Aranda’s father, sister and others crowding into the GenX shop to get them to stop making the T-shirts.
“Nobody talked to me about using my son’s name or his picture,” Rey’s father, Armando, tells Chris Oh, the store manager. “My family asked you to stop selling it and you continued to sell it.”
Rey Aranda’s sister breaks down crying, accusing the man of lying. “You’re a grown up and I’m a child,” she said. “You’re supposed to set an example, and you made me a promise you couldn’t keep.”
By Thursday, the video was viewed 57,000 times, shared by more than 550 people and received over 100 comments. Some took their protests to the Pasco store’s Facebook page.
“The only reason I came to this page was to try and post a video of a little girl who lost her brother, crying in front of you as you watched,” Will Gordon posted.
While relatives claimed the store was profiting from the tragedy, Oh later told the Herald, he was contacted by people claiming to be relatives and friends wanting to make the memorial T-shirts.
“I didn’t make a profit making the shirts,” he said.
Oh said he stopped making the shirts and, in the video, he apologized to the family and offered to make a donation to help with the funeral.
“You tell me how much you want to give,” Armando Aranda said to him. “What would make you feel good about doing something so bad.”
Oh ended up donating $1,000.
Aranda’s funeral was Wednesday. A memorial balloon release also is scheduled for 6 p.m. Friday at the Pasco Youth Football Fields in Highland Park at 500 N. Wehe Ave.