If you’re a country fan, you know that Luke Bryan made a stop in Jacksonville Thursday night as part of his Sunset Repeat Tour.
Going to a concert is one experience, meeting a country superstar is another. Thursday turned out to be a dream come true for Matthew Yates.
Matthew Yates will be twenty on August 18. Like many country fans, Matthew knows all of Luke Bryan’s songs.
Yates even sang Roller Coaster to a girl in Colorado that he had a crush on.
“My daughter Jessica, they got into this back in 2012,” Matthew’s step-mother Brenda Yates said.
Thanks to his step-sister Jessica, Matthew scored VIP tickets to see Dustin Lynch and Luke Bryan in 2015. He caught the attention of Lynch, and even walked away with an autographed guitar, but missed out on meeting his favorite Luke Bryan.
“He is my inspiration to keep living every day,” Yates said.
Yates has down syndrome and is a student at UNF as part of the Arc of Jacksonville program. With his birthday weeks away, his family decided what better gift for him, than another chance for Matthew to meet his favorite star.
His dream came true. Yates was among a select group of people that got to meet the superstar. He’s walked away from the encounter with an autograph and dozens of pictures and vides. But the college student, who is one year away from graduating in his program, has big plans for after graduation.
“I just wish I could be a police officer so I can help and love everyone that’s out there,” he said.
That includes Luke Bryan himself.
“I’d like to be his personal security guard," he said. "And actually go to his concerts so I can see him and we can exchange phone numbers and do personal things with him. So we become the bestest friends ever.”
Yates' family is happy he was given the chance to meet his favorite artist and has a few words of wisdom for other families who want to do the same.
“I would just tell any other families other there that have special needs, keep trying, perseverance, keep trying," Brenda Yates said. "It pays off for itself just to see that smile on his face he was dancing all night at the concert, absolutely worth it.”