Dad gets tattoo replica of son’s burn scars so 9-year-old won’t feel alone

FESTUS, Mo. – Joel Thomas is no stranger to the tattoo parlor, but he says his latest piece of art has a special meaning.

After his son was badly burned in an accident, Thomas decided to get the same scars inked on his own leg so his son wouldn't be alone in his recovery.

"I've been getting tattooed for a long time, but this one means everything," he told KTVI. "It represents, that no matter what happens in life, you can't break the bond of a father and son."

It's been just over one year since Thomas' 9-year-old son, Landon, accidentally fell into a bonfire, severely burning his leg.  He was released after nearly two weeks in the hospital, but his pain and scars would last much longer.

"You never want to see your kids go through pain of any kind," Thomas said.  "But to see your kid go through that is unexplainable," he said.

So, Thomas turned to what he knew best, ink.  He told Landon he was getting a tattoo replica of the burn scars so that his son wouldn't have to relive the horrors of that accident alone.

"I wanted him to be able to wear short socks and run and not have the fear of people looking at his leg and making jokes and stuff," Thomas said.

Thomas sent their story to the tattoo competition show, "Ink Masters," and was selected to appear as a guest canvas.  Their episode, in which Thomas gets the tattoo replica of his son’s scars aired last week, and while he's had the tattoo for a few months now, he says it’s made a world of difference.

"I'm going to walk through life as his protector and as his best friend trying to absorb any pain away from him the way I can," Thomas said. "It's a tragic accident that happened to him but it's a happy ending for us because it brought us stronger as a family."