3.4 Million People Agree: Carter Wilkerson Deserved His Wendy’s Chicken Nuggets
In April, Carter Wilkerson asked Wendy's how many retweets he'd need to get free chicken nuggets for a year. Six weeks later, the Twitterverse has not only helped #NuggsForCarter accomplish that dream, it also helped him become the most retweeted person of all-time.
Last month, you couldn't open Twitter without someone in your feed retweeting Carter's dream into your line of sight. That's saying something given how many people clog their feeds with mundane nonsense, but this was a goal as admirable as any in the fast food universe we'd ever seen. It was worthy of such attention. Then it just kept going.
The internet is a fickle place, where attention spans last only as long as it takes to scroll your timeline or feed. Some kid jokingly aiming for free chicken nuggets for a year from Wendy's was just the kind of thing you figured would be in and out of the zeitgeist like so many viral promposals. But for whatever reason, the internet latched onto Carter's quest, #NuggsForCarter, and within weeks of the original tweet, the kid was staring down seven figures in retweets.
Of course, Wendy's original target of 18,000,000 seemed absolutely absurd. Approximately 313,000,000 users log into Twitter monthly, and even getting just 6% of them to retweet such an innocuous request seemed like an impossible task. It would be win-win for Wendy's, as the fast food chain would earn as much mindshare as possible thanks to one nugget fan's hashtag campaign no matter what. Having only to concede a small batch of its food every day for 365 days seemed a small price to pay for that kind of free viral marketing.
Heck, brands and companies like Wendy's dream of the kind of opportunity #NuggsForCarter would present, especially when those social media impressions gain ground on the likes of former President Barack Obama, One Direction, and the reigning queen of retweets, Ellen DeGeneres. Late last month, Ellen had Carter on her show to talk about his internet notoriety, the campaign, and to warn him not to get too close to her record-setting Oscars selfie.
But even with the help of a competition-tracking website, everyone's favorite daytime comedian host couldn't stop the nugget train. Perhaps because #NuggsForCarter had some support from faster modes of transportation. That and just about every brand in the world had his back, including Apple, Google, Amazon and Microsoft. This week, Wilkerson finally surpassed Ellen, and the Guinness Book of World Records acknowledged that he was the lone champion of retweets.
Before the record was beaten, Wendy's promised to throw in a $100,000 to the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption as a goal. Now that everything was made official, Wendy's held up its end of the bargain, and also decided to award Carter the year's supply of chicken nuggets 15,000,000 retweets early.
It's an amazing thing that 3.4 million people could come together to support such a strange quest, as getting that many millions of people to agree on any one thing would seem an otherwise impossible task. For what it's worth, Carter Wilkerson did use his newfound fame to establish some fundraising efforts of his own. The NuggsForCarter website offers t-shirts with the hashtag, with all the proceeds from sales going towards the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption. The website also asks for donations towards Pinnochio's Moms on the Run, a Reno, NV charity that provides support and services to women with breast cancer and their families.
Some folks may be salty that one high school student achieved fame (and that elusive blue checkmark) simply asking for some free food, but when it amounts in as must positivity as #NuggsForCarter had, it's hard to be mad. Don't forget, he raised some money for charity, got some free stuff from celebrities, and some free food from Wendy's, but Carter will still have to go through the rest of his life as the "Nugget Kid."
Probably still worth it though, tbh.
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