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  • I accidentally became a meme and this is that story.

  • It's weird to be famous as a baby.

  • There wa... there wasn't really a "before".

  • Really, my whole life has been me being Success Kid.

  • This all started in 2007.

  • We went to the beach 'cause I had just gotten a new camera and I wanted to take some pictures of my baby and my family.

  • Sam was 11 months old.

  • He was about to eat a handful of sand, like babies do, and I just snapped the shot at just the right moment.

  • I thought it was a really cute picture.

  • I had no idea how profoundly it would impact our lives.

  • I posted the picture to my Flickr account the same day I took it.

  • It was immediately popular and got about 300 likes the first day.

  • But then after that I kinda forgot about it.

  • Within a year, I started to see it online.

  • There was a photoshopped child in the background with a destroyed sand castle and it had the caption "I hate sandcastles".

  • And there was another version with the caption "Ima (beep) you up".

  • We really had no idea what memes were because they were so new.

  • But the ones that did exist usually were either making fun of somebody or had negative connotations.

  • We didn't want that to be associated with our baby.

  • My picture was just out there for anyone to take and manipulate.

  • I realized at that point: There was no getting this picture back.

  • The Internet had it.

  • And then about a year after that was the first time I saw it used with the green and blue little background and it had my baby there and was titled Success Kid.

  • Then when I saw that, I thought, "Please let this version take off".

  • It was so positive and sweet.

  • The great thing about the Success Kid meme is that not only is it about success, but it's about unlikely success.

  • Achieving, you know, against the odds.

  • And that was really special because Sam was born prematurely, then had to have brain surgery at six weeks old.

  • So, seeing it called Success Kid just, like, warmed my heart, you know.

  • I was just... I felt like that was the most appropriate title for him and it was given to him by the Internet.

  • Before long, we saw the picture everywhere.

  • Saw it all over the Internet, advertising, a Super Bowl commercial, Obama's White House, newspapers around the world.

  • It was something positive that was out there that people really responded to.

  • It's kinda hard to comprehend.

  • It's weird being a famous baby because I had no idea what was happening, you know.

  • That said, I I do have a lot of mixed feelings with it.

  • I would go back and forth with being like, "Oh, I wish I was a normal kid" to "Oh, this is like, you know, this is super awesome".

  • And so, to have fans come up to me and be like, "Hey, do the pose!" or, you know, like, "What did sand taste like?" or whatever,

  • I'm like, "I don't know", and I... I would say, "like candy" or something, you know, 'cause, like, in my mind, I'm just a normal, lazy teenager.

  • Usually just doing art and listening to music.

  • I've been doing art for, I mean, my whole life really.

  • My dad has been a big part of why I started.

  • Kinda got that interest from him.

  • And, you know, I would look at his art and, you know, constantly copy it and stuff, and then I would gain a certain style.

  • You know, interests change and your mindset and your body, you know, changes a lot, and you don't just wanna be known as Success Kid.

  • But then I found out that my dad was sick.

  • I was diagnosed with chronic kidney disease.

  • I had about 20 percent kidney function when they caught it.

  • I was on dialysis for six years.

  • Really needed a kidney transplant, but I couldn't qualify because the cost of the anti-rejection drugs are so enormous, you know, for so many people, it's almost impossible.

  • We just had the idea to do a fundraiser.

  • I didn't wanna mention Success Kid.

  • I mean, I wasn't even thinking about that initially.

  • Then I posted it on my Twitter account.

  • - Some publications retweeted it and... - Within the first week of the GoFundMe being posted, we surpassed our goal.

  • We got so many messages saying how much the meme has meant to them and how much it brightens their day to see his face, or how they were going through a dark time, and...

  • That was the best part of the campaign, really, is just feeling like we're getting this, you know, giant hug from the world.

  • I am very thankful for everybody who has, you know, helped us and everybody who uses the picture.

  • A lot of nurses and doctors use it to get through the day.

  • I'm very happy that, you know, people who save others' lives is using my picture when I was doing nothing but eating sand.

  • You know, like, it... it's a good thought, you know.

  • It's... it helps me.

  • I'm at an age right now to where I don't really know what I am fully.

  • I do hope one day that I'll be able to create something that inspires people just as much as Success Kid does.

I accidentally became a meme and this is that story.

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A2 US BuzzFeed success kid picture meme sand

I Accidentally Became A Meme: Success Kid

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    Minjane posted on 2020/08/10
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