After being turned away from several parlors, Buzz and his loving mother were losing all hope of him getting his ideal tattoo. But the autistic man wasn’t going to let a few closed doors come between him and some epic body art. And, finally, after some considerable patience, Buzz met the man who made his dream come true.
Indeed, Buzz, who comes from Washington, wanted to mark his 23rd birthday in a very permanent way. But his wish for a tattoo was no recent thing; in fact, it had been a long-held conviction. In January 2018 Buzz’s mom, Sandi Green, told Oakland, California-based station KTVU that Buzz had even adored temporary tattoos as a youngster “and would freak out when they washed off.”
Seeing how happy tattoos made him, Green consequently said to Buzz that he could get his own ink when he was 18; this was then changed to 23. The extra five years didn’t see Buzz’s dream dwindle, however – and, sure enough, he was pressing again for the tattoo in the days leading up to his 23rd birthday.
But Buzz didn’t want any old body art: he had a very fixed idea of what he required. Green told KTVU that her son was a fan of 1990s Nickelodeon hit Rugrats and had long desired a tattoo of Tommy, one of the show’s lead characters. However, Buzz did have some conditions when it came to the illustration. In particular, his mom related, “he wanted Tommy in underwear – not a diaper.”
So Green began to make the preparations for Buzz’s tattoo as he approached his 23rd birthday. With his condition in mind, she decided to run the prospect by Buzz’s doctor first before approaching any artists. And, fortunately, the medical professional was absolutely fine with the idea – but actually securing the tattoo may have been harder than Green had anticipated.
That’s because many tattoo shops weren’t as accommodating as Buzz’s doctor. In the majority of cases, employees there either refused outright to tattoo Buzz or agreed to do so but with hefty charges. Green realized why that was the case, though.
For one, inking Buzz may have been a risk on the parlors’ parts, because they had no idea how the autistic man would react to the uncomfortable procedure. What’s more, the employees there didn’t know whether he truly had the ability to decide what’s right for himself.
So, after being faced with countless knockbacks and inflated prices, it seemed that Green couldn’t give Buzz the birthday present he had wished for. By this time, the pair had been searching for an artist for months and had been rejected by around seven different parlors. Then, however, things started looking up.
And Green later related her and her son’s experience on Facebook. There, the mom wrote that she and Buzz had been “driving by Northwest Inkorporated” in Bremerton; Green subsequently went in to the shop, albeit “reluctantly.” To her astonishment, though, she wasn’t turned away or charged over the odds for the prospect of tattooing her son.
As it happens, the tattoo artist in question, Pat Masga, was up for the challenge of inking Buzz. Although Masga was aware of the risks of doing the procedure on the man, he wanted to at least try – because he could see how much Buzz wanted it.
In fact, Masga resolved to do all he could to complete Buzz’s tattoo. Posting on Facebook in January 2018, Masga said, “When Buzz arrived, he had a huge smile. From the moment I met him… I told myself that this tattoo is getting done – no matter what adjustments I have to make. Whether it took me five hours or five sessions, I was willing to do it.”
Before Masga started with the ink, though, he tested Buzz’s tolerance for pain by “tattooing” with water. With Buzz’s condition, it was wise to discern his reaction to the process before Masga began inking him in earnest. Buzz himself, however, was unphased and wanted the color straight away.
And to everyone’s delight, the procedure went perfectly. Indeed, Masga was so impressed with Buzz that he took to Facebook to shout his praises. “He sat like a rock, was positive all the way of what he wanted and finally got his dream tattoo!” the artist explained on Northwest Inkorporated’s page. Masga went on to comment, “[Buzz] sat like a champ, didn’t complain or quit, and we did it!”
Then, after two hours under the needle, a victorious Buzz could finally show off what his mom would later term on Facebook as “the tattoo of his dreams.” And after years of waiting, Buzz was elated with his new body art. Indeed, one of Buzz’s buddies commented on Masga’s Facebook post to say, “I can tell you he is ecstatic about finally getting his Tommy tattoo… Nicely done, sir.”
Meanwhile, Masga was not only happy with his handiwork but delighted to have been involved in such a pivotal moment in the lives of Buzz and his family. He wrote on Facebook, “In the end, no amount of money or fame could equal to the feeling I had when I saw his face when he saw it finished! He loves it! And I’m just happy I got to be a part of this memorable moment in his life.”
And Masga’s post outlining his encounter with Buzz received an overwhelming response and an astonishing level of engagement. Barely one week after posting the pictures of Buzz, his post received more than 183,000 likes and was shared 87,000 times, in fact. One Facebook user shared the story with the message, “This is so cool! Look at the smile you put on his face. People with autism have the ability to make choices too!”
The comments on the Facebook post also showed support and encouraged discussions about autism. One mom said, for instance. “The spectrum is so huge. My boys couldn’t handle it because they have no pain tolerance and are a lot less functioning than Buzz, but that just goes to show how many people really understand the spectrum.”
Masga’s message also inspired others with autism to speak out, with one individual saying, “I have hobbies and interests like everyone else. I just have some struggles and see the world a different way.” Another commenter showed their appreciation of Masga’s act by writing, “Thanks for upholding our rights.”
Masga may yet see Buzz again, though, as the 23-year-old is reportedly planning on adding further ink to his collection. Indeed, Buzz is apparently so happy with his Tommy tattoo that he is aiming to have further Rugrats characters featured on his arm.
And, yes, Buzz is planning to visit with Masga again to get the work done – after he’s saved enough money to do so, of course. As many know, though, tattoos can be addictive – so Buzz could be a walking Nickelodeon tribute before he even knows it.