RENO, Nev. — A Nevada teen is seeking peak Twitter fame after accepting a challenge from Wendy's official fast-food Twitter account to get 18 million retweets in exchange for a year's supply of chicken nuggets.
Yep, this is actually a thing in 2017, #NuggsForCarter.
“It’s pretty exciting," Carter Wilkerson, 16, said in an interview Friday during his lunch break at Bishop Manogue Catholic High School here. "I’m one of those people who isn't usually looking for attention. But since it started, it’s been pretty cool. In school, it’s fun because everyone knows about it.”
Carter called from a quiet corner of the school. In the background, one of his friends yelled, "The man, the myth, the legend!" as he walked by.
The social-media moment started Wednesday when Carter tweeted: "Yo @Wendys how many retweets for a year of free chicken nuggets" as a joke. Carter said he didn't really expect a reply.
Wendy's reply: "18 million"
That would be 5% of Twitter's monthly active global users.
Carter replied, "Consider it done" and posted a screenshot of the exchange.
"I sent out the tweet as a joke, but then they responded with the outrageous number," Carter said. "I thought 'Consider it done' would be funny among my friend group. Then I put the screen shot up and it started gaining momentum."
As of noon Friday, he had 1.1 million retweets of the screenshot, a third of Ellen DeGeneres' Oscar tweet that reached 3.2 million retweets, the most retweeted tweet of all the tweets in the Twittersphere. (Say that 10 times fast.)
Now all he needs is help from Twitter celebrities Ellen DeGeneres, George Takei, Chrissy Teigen or any other famous Twitterer with more than 20 million followers. (President Trump, are you watching?)
Carter's father, J Wilkerson, 51, didn't even really know about what was happening until his son started receiving requests for interviews. Wilkerson's 14-year-old son helped his father set up a Twitter account so he could see the whole ordeal.
“My wife and I think it's great if it has a great cause other than eating chicken nuggets for a year," Wilkerson said. "It would be great to solve a life crisis. But also it’s nice to have some whimsical news.”
He talked to Carter about donating the year supply of nuggets — no one has said exactly how many nuggets that would be — to a food pantry here or seeing if Wendy's would consider another form of reward that could be transferred to those in need. Neither of them are sure what Wendy's plans to do, if anything.
Carter said it would be nice to receive a consolation prize, and many of his followers agree. Wendy's (WEN) privately messaged him, asking for his address, but didn't specify any further plans.
The screenshot tweet has received 6,100 replies, which are now appearing in different languages, including Russian, Turkish, German, Spanish, Portuguese, French, Arabic and English dialects in the UK. Twitter translations show the majority of the international comments are supportive of Carter's ask.
Wendy's did not immediately respond to a Reno Gazette-Journal tweet requesting more details. We tried old-fashioned email in the meantime, but that didn't receive a timely reply either.
“Carter is kind of a shy kid," Wilkerson said. "So I think the attention is overwhelming him.”
Carter said he has received a lot of attention at school both in the hallways and in class.
"It's kind of a little distracting," he said. "When I walk in, people say, 'He’s the chicken nugget man,' and it’ll go on for a few minutes and then it’ll settle down and we get to work."
Being known as the "chicken nugget man" is a bit strange. He also plays football and runs track and field at school.
Wendy's Twitter account has been cheering people on, too.
If he were to receive a year's supply of chicken nuggets, which he hopes is a gift card and not a truckload, Carter said he would dip them in Wendy's honey mustard sauce, barbecue or ketchup.
Follow Mike Higdon on Twitter: @MikeHigdon
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