"I want Taco Bell."
Those were the first words whispered by a 35-year-old army veteran from Florida after waking up from a 48-day coma and slowly regaining his ability to speak.
Jake Booth, also a former sheriff's deputy in Collier County, had originally been suffering from bronchitis.
Antibiotics helped him, but after quitting his pills, his bronchitis turned into a devastating bout of double pneumonia. Then in February, the unthinkable happened: booth had a heart attack and slipped into a coma.
Booth had to be taken to Tampa General Hospital via airlift for extensive treatment. His family did not know whether Booth would ever wake up or how much damage his brain had endured from the loss of oxygen.
After more than a month, however, Booth woke up. To the surprise of his relatives and neurologists, Booth knew who he was. He understood where he was.
The former army man even recognized Eva, his 6-year-old daughter, as well as Aiden, his 1-year-old son.
Booth struggled to speak, and still does. Doctors say this is due to the lingering effects of tracheotomy and intubation.
But as soon as he could transform sounds into words, he made a simple request: he wanted Taco Bell.
"He actually said, out loud, 'I want Taco Bell,'" said Jason Schwartz, the older brother of Booth.
Schwartz can confirm that this was the very first thing his brother said. Whenever Booth starts to form a full sentence, he still struggled. But when he spoke one or two words at a time, Schwartz said they could definitely understand.
When Booth immediately asked for Taco Bell, Schwartz said his friend Tyler Chronister definitely heard Booth say the words. Tyler then asked Booth whether he wanted Taco Bell to confirm, and the latter responded, "Yes."
Booth was not allowed to eat solid food during the first few days of his recovery. It took 22 days before he ate solid food.
Just last week, however, Booth's request was granted after doctors cleared him to eat. Booth ate 8 1/2 Crunchy Tacos.
His friend Tyler shared a photo of Booth eating inside his hospital room. The photo went viral on Reddit.
Schwartz said they have been waiting for a month for his brother to eat the tacos.
"It was symbolic of the entire thing," said Schwartz. He said it was more of a metaphor of his brother waking up and being given a second chance at life.
Schwartz, who has launched a GoFundMe campaign for Booth, stressed that his brother is still in the early days of recovery and early phases of rehabilitation.
He hopes to raise about $50,000 to help Booth's wife, Jasmine, and his kids defray the loss of Booth's salary while his medical expenses pile up.