Do you believe in miracles? You just might after viewing GH’s Maurice Benard’s latest episode of his video podcast, State Of Mind, with special guests Tracy Gerard and her son, Tyler Gerard. The mother/son duo share a cautionary tale about a trip to Thailand gone wrong and how they found their way back from the darkness.
Maurice Benard And Tracy Gerard: A Mother’s Love Knows No Bounds
Benard (Sonny Corinthos) was filled with overwhelming emotions as he started this week’s show. “I’m nervous. I’m excited. I’m passionate about Tyler Gerard’s story.” He explained, “He spent six years in a Thailand prison. He was innocent. And, guess what? He’s here today. Can you imagine what he went through? I can’t.”
The actor introduced Tyler’s mother, Tracy Gerard, first. “This is a mother, you know those documentaries where people are trying to get to the top of Mount Everest. They try. They can’t do it. They do it again. Do it again. Do it again. And they get to the top. And that is what she did. She saved her son’s life,” he said, getting choked up. “That is what a mother does…for her son.”
Tracy Gerard described how their ordeal started. “I was on my way to play bocce ball, December 3rd or 4th, I believe. A normal day for us. And I got a phone call. I could tell it was coming from Thailand, and, of course, I knew he was there. He had an American friend who was living over there. He was due to go into the army and he was having some last fun.”
What transpired next is something no mother wants to hear. “He was screaming, ‘Mom, I got arrested! Mom, I got arrested!’ And that is pretty much all they would let him say. Then a lawyer got on the phone and told me that my son had been arrested and what he got arrested for. That I needed to get there right away. That I needed to send money. And then they hung up.”
She soon began what would end up being a surreal and horrendous journey through the corrupt Thai political and judicial system. A journey that would end up costing the family millions. A mother helplessly watching her youngest child wither away mentally and physically in a foreign prison faced with the death penalty.
Tyler Gerard’s Story: Injustice And Prison
It started at the Cambodian border when they flagged Gerard at the passport checkpoint. “They were calling me a murderer, a drug smuggler,” he revealed. The young man explained his first reaction. “I honestly thought that it was a joke. And they were showing me the front page of the newspaper that day and I am on the front page already. And I thought it was a little local newspaper but no it was for all of Thailand. There I was.”
A bag was placed over his head and he faced days of interrogation trying to break him down into confessing something he knew nothing about. His parents arrived and were quickly targeted by corrupt lawyers demanding more and more money for naught. Young Gerard quickly found himself in prison.
“At first when I got to the prison it was all Thais and I thought I was the only foreigner there,” he said, before describing the conditions. “The prison was terrible. You are sleeping in shifts. First of all, your legs are interlocking with the other people you are sleeping with. So your leg would be on my chest and my leg would be on your chest. They would be interlocking that way and off to the side as well. They call it the fish can.
“After about 4 hours,” he continued, “You would switch so about 20 people would have to go stand in the toilet area, and then the other new 20 people would come in and sleep. Sleep in shifts like that. The first night I felt alone. What’s happening? Where am I? And what’s going on? I just felt overwhelmed, I guess.”
And the menu was dismal. “It’s rice and dirty water,” he explained. “Some fish heads sometimes. There are some Thai vegetables boiled in there. It is bad. The food is bad. And it is never enough. Just never enough. You have got to work hard to get food. If you just sit there, you are not going to get food.”
Finding Spirit In Solitude
Tyler Gerard would eventually spend time in three different prisons, one included a whole year of solitary confinement before moving on to Thailand’s prison for Death Row inmates at Bang Kwang, where he would wait for his lethal injection. But his mother never gave up on him.
“There is no fear when it comes to that,” a defiant Tracy Gerard explained. “I will fight to the death for either one of my kids.”
And young Gerard found his own spiritual awakening while facing his abysmal prospects. “I prayed a lot. I prayed as much as I could and just counted everything that I was grateful for. That I was alive. That I do have a chance to survive. That there is some kind of food coming to me. Anything I could think of and be grateful for that.
“And then I would think of the thing that I was most grateful for…my family,” he shared. “My mother. And think about what it would be like if I didn’t have that and how much worse that it could be. It was just me suffering in a room, not the world ending. That is the way I looked at it.”
An Epic Tale Of Inspiration
Tyler Gerard had so much to say about his epic journey from death’s door and back home again. It will move you to tears, shake the core of your being, and provide a cautionary tale on how to protect yourself on a trip to some foreign countries. As Benard muses in the beginning of State Of Mind, it is a tale that Oscar-winning movies are made of. Find out how he survived Tuberculosis, six herniated discs in his back, several bouts of Covid, other illnesses, anxiety, and torture. Find the full episode here.
You’ll find out who stood by him, where he found the strength to endure, how he held onto his dreams, what it felt like to see the moon again, and what his plans are for the future. You can follow this inspirational man on Twitter. Contribute to his family’s GoFundMe Campaign to help others make miracles happen. Follow Maurice Benard on Twitter, Instagram, or State of Mind.
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Today on @mbstateofind I’m joined by Tyler Gerard (@TylerJGerard) & his mom, Tracy Gerard.
For six long years, Tyler was on death row in Thailand for crimes he did not commit. They’re here to share their story of survival. (1/3)https://t.co/rXQfSYo8Hj pic.twitter.com/rOh4vINUix
— Maurice Benard (@MauriceBenard) June 5, 2022