Guy Gets Free Wendy’s Nuggets for a Year and Proves Our Dreams are Possible

Wendy’s Chicken Nuggets
Carter Wilkerson/Twitter

Every now and then, the bravest among us attempt to do something life-changing.

Sometimes they succeed. Sometimes they fail.

Sometimes the victory is simply in their willingness to take a leap of faith and try the impossible.

Carter Wilkerson, a 16-year-old high schooler from Reno, Nevada, is one of those brave souls. His quest? One year of free nuggets from Wendy’s in exchange for 18 million retweets.

He still has miles to go before he hits the 18 million mark, but holding the record for the most retweeted post ever — beating out former President Barack Obama and Ellen DeGeneres — might be the fuel he needs to stay motivated.

Despite the fact that Carter hasn’t hit the 18 million mark yet, Wendy’s has already given him his year’s worth of free nuggets. Additionally, Wendy’s donated $100,000 to the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption in Carter’s honor.

How Did He Get a Year’s Worth of Wendy’s Chicken Nuggets?

It started as a joke.

Inspired by posts from other kids seeking retweets to convince their parents to get pets, Carter decided to go for the gold. Golden-brown nuggets, that is.

That’s what led to the tweet that started it all.

“Yo @Wendy’s how many retweets for a year of free chicken nuggets?” he tweeted. Wendy’s replied with a mammoth “18 million.”

Eighteen million retweets was a huge and likely impossible goal. But Carter put his hopes in our hands. In us, the 313 million active monthly users of Twitter.

In the first 48 hours, he broke 1 million retweets.

From there, it took a month to get more than 3.4 million retweets and finally win the spot as the most retweeted post ever. Obviously, not everyone was on his side. DeGeneres’ famous Oscars photos, which once held the top spot, raked in more than 100,000 additional retweets during Carter’s ascent.

Carter quickly became a social media phenom.

He not only grabbed the attention of regular folks like me, but huge brands like Microsoft, which also called Amazon and Google into the push for Carter’s nuggets and pushed Carter’s retweet count up. The CEO of T-Mobile got in by offering to pay for the nuggets himself if Carter’s family was willing to leave AT&T. Also supporting this young man’s dream of free nuggets was “Breaking Bad” star Aaron Paul.

Carter Shares the Wealth

Possibly the best part of a story is the kid himself. Carter seems to be pretty awesome.

When this started, Carter, the oldest of four children, had 138 followers on Twitter. Now he has more than 100,000, and he’s been using his growing popularity for the greater good.

He launched the website and sells T-shirts.

He will donate the proceeds from the shirts to the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption. Why? Because he feels like he hit the jackpot by being born into his family and wants to help the 110,000 children in the U.S. foster care system find families as awesome and loving as his.

Don’t want a shirt? Carter also wants you to check out a Reno, Nevada organization called Pinocchio’s Moms on the Run, which provides services for women with breast cancer.

His motivation here is clear, too. When he was 9, his mom battled cancer and won. His community stepped in to make sure his family was taken care of during that tough time, and he wants to make sure other families get help when they need it, too.

Clearly, Carter is the best 16-year-old ever.

So we salute you, Carter. Congratulations on your Wendy’s nuggets. You deserve them.

Desiree Stennett (@desi_stennett) is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. She knows Carter already has his nuggets but would love it if he could still reach 18 million retweets.

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