"I've known Ben for over a decade. Every few years I decide to mess with him in some way or another," Ben's friend, who has chosen to be identified only as "Fred," wrote in an email to Scene. "In the past, I've made Halloween masks, stickers, and now shirts. It's only because Ben is a good friend that I feel comfortable pulling these pranks."
The plan was hatched back in March when Fred asked Ben's wife Julie to send over some high resolution photos of Ben. Fred then drew designs and started pressing the tees at his home. Thirty-five days before Ben's 30th birthday, Fred distributed the shirts so that when he told Ben about the prank, some of them might've already been sold.
Fred says he had initially not planned on telling Ben about the shirts, with the hopes that one day he would stumble upon someone wearing his face in public. But with his birthday coming up, he couldn't resist the urge to show his friend.
"I don't want to say the exact number of shirts or stores," Fred says. "Part of the prank is that Ben doesn't know the full scope of it."
While this might seem a little concerning, Julie says her husband thinks the prank is great. Fred encourages anyone who comes across a "Ben face" shirt to post a picture to social media with the hashtag #WhereHaveYouBen.
So far, Ben and Julie have spotted at least one shirt around town. On Monday, Julie posted a picture (below) to Reddit of one such tee she found for $3.99 with the caption “perfect prank.”
Perfect prank: when your friend secretly uses a picture of your face to make tee shirts, and donates a ton of them to local thrift stores. Happy 30th birthday, Ben. We hope to see your face on many random strangers in the greater Cleveland area. #wherehaveyouBen from r/Ohio
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