The 45-year-old TikToker said he wanted to teach his loved ones a lesson about how they "shouldn't wait until someone is dead to meet up with him."
Belgian TikToker David Baerten, 45, recently concocted a plan to see who in his social circle “really cared” about him by faking his own death. Then, at his funeral, Baerten gave mourners the surprise of a lifetime when he arrived at the venue via helicopter.
The stunt, partially recorded on TikTok, stemmed from Baerten feeling “unappreciated” by his friends and family.
“What I see in my family often hurts me, I never get invited to anything. Nobody sees me. We all grew apart. I felt unappreciated,” Baerten said, as reported by the New York Post. “That’s why I wanted to give them a life lesson and show them that you shouldn’t wait until someone is dead to meet up with them.”
The plan started with convincing Baerten’s friends and family that he had died. For this, Baerten’s daughter took to Facebook to break the terrible news, according to the Times UK:
“Rest in peace, Daddy. I will never stop thinking about you,” the daughter wrote, according to the Times UK. “Why is life so unfair? Why you? You were going to be a grandfather, and you still had your whole life ahead of you. I love you! We love you! We will never forget you.”
After convincing Baerten’s friends and extended family that he had passed away, he began funeral preparations.
In a ceremony last weekend outside of Liège, Belgium, a group of mourners traveled to celebrate Baerten’s life. While the group waited for the ceremony to begin, a helicopter flew across the sky and landed in the fields near the event.
Without warning, a camera crew jumped from the helicopter alongside someone truly unexpected: David Baerten himself.
“Cheers to you all, welcome to my funeral!” Baerten exclaimed to the confused crowd, according to the Times UK.
Some members of the crowd tearfully ran to Baerten to embrace him, while others remained confused in the event space parking lot.
Later, after the video was uploaded to TikTok, a user wrote, “You got us, I swear I was crying and then I had the shock, buddy we love you very much.”
Others were not so pleased with Baerten’s little stunt.
“Now we know why people don’t like him,” one user wrote in the comments. Other commenters observed how the stunt was “cruel” and “unnecessary.”
Baerten had very few regrets in the first days following the event, saying the funeral “proves who really cares about me. Those who didn’t come did contact me to meet up. So in a way, I did win,” according to The Times.
However, Baerten later admitted that he should have canceled the stunt.
“As soon as I started receiving messages from people and videos of them crying, I wished I could cancel the whole thing, but it was too late. I asked myself, ‘What have you done this?’ but it was too late,” Baerten stated, according to Indy100.
“I’m sorry to all the people I hurt. I hate hurting people.”
After reading about how David Baerten faked his own death, discover the story of Noela Rukundo, the woman who crashed her own funeral. Then, read the story of how Trevor Jacob intentionally crashed his plane for YouTube views.