A day ago, 16-year-old Tyler Brandt was in tears thinking about what he was holding in his hand, a nametag he says he was forced to wear by his former manager at Taco John's. On Thursday, he was answering phone call after phone call from people impacted by his story.
"Definitely had a lot of reaction in a short amount of time. I really like to see most of it as positive reaction, though. There were negative comments," Tyler said.
Those negative comments didn't stop the Huffington Post and a long list of national and international sites from picking up the story. That was his first goal, to make people aware of what was happening to him.
"I'm trying to reach out to the people who want to be part of this and want to stand by me while I try to prove that these things have been going on. I want people to know that this is just absolutely unacceptable and I don't want it to be happening," Tyler said.
Tyler says that since the story has come out, many of his former co-workers have spoken with him about actions of alleged verbal abuse at Taco John's, messages of support that have him looking forward more than he was one day ago.
"I'm actually really happy. I think that something may go on that needs to happen. I'm just really excited to see what happens," Tyler said.
He also adds that he has officially taken legal counsel, but is being advised not to speak about the details of any future actions.
We did try to once again reach out to management at Taco John's in Yankton and still no comment about the situation is being made.
That's not a surprise to Tyler, but his focus is no longer on the past. He is looking ahead to the future.
"It disgusts me to think that maybe more people are going to have to put up with this, and I get that I can't be a peace maker. I can't make everything go away, but I can sure say that I've tried," Tyler said.
Tyler says he has noticed the comments about his story being a hoax, but he responded to those critics by saying he is not out to make money or hurt anyone else. He just wants discrimination like this to go away.