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Photo via Phil Denton/Flickr (CC-BY-SA)
One man tried to change the world—and he succeeded.
They say records are meant to be broken and nuggets are meant to be eaten, and perhaps no one embodies that age-old axiom more than a teenager.
Carter Wilkerson’s attempt to get 18 million retweets in exchange for unlimited chicken nuggets from Wendy’s for a year broke the record for most retweets ever. And despite falling very short of the high bar it set for him, Wendy’s is giving the kid free nuggets for a year anyway.
— Carter Wilkerson (@carterjwm) May 9, 2017
— Wendy's (@Wendys) May 9, 2017
— Wendy's (@Wendys) May 9, 2017
He gets them nugs.
As of post time, Carter’s tweet, at 3,437,435, has 7K more retweets than Ellen Degeneres’ Oscar selfie, the previous record-holder, which went viral in 2014. Ellen bested Barack Obama’s November 2012 tweet of “Four more years,” which back then had three-quarters of a million.
Carter’s campaign began in earnest (and possibly in jest) back in early April, when, on a lark, he asked the fast-food chain how many retweets he would need to get to get a year’s worth of free nuggets.
The company responded with an impossibly high bar, but that didn’t dissuade Wilkerson.
@carterjwm 18 Million
— Wendy's (@Wendys) April 6, 2017
HELP ME PLEASE. A MAN NEEDS HIS NUGGS pic.twitter.com/4SrfHmEMo3
— Carter Wilkerson (@carterjwm) April 6, 2017
Wilkerson quickly racked up one million tweets in two days, but then plateaued. It took him an appearance on Ellen to get over the proverbial hump.
Ellen filmed a short PSA with Bradley Cooper to help boost her numbers, but the publicity Wilkerson got from the appearance was enough to push him over the top.
Alongside the nuggets, Wendy’s is donating $100,000 to the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption in Wilkerson’s name.
Ellen also gave him a year’s supply of underwear and a new TV, in the hopes that he would ask people to retweet her tweet too, keeping her at No. 1 while Wilkerson pushed onward to 18 million.
It is unclear whether Degeneres will follow through on her promise to take back the TV and underwear now that he’s surpassed her.
Wilkerson told the New York Times that his record is gonna look “pretty cool” on a college application.
H/T the New York Times
David Covucci is the Layer 8 editor at the Daily Dot, covering the intersection of politics and the web. His work has appeared in Vice, the Huffington Post, Jezebel, Gothamist, and other publications. He is particularly interested in hearing any tips you have. Reach out at [email protected]