On March 16, Kelsey Harmon sent out the above-pictured tweet, stating that she was the only one that joined her grandfather — Kenny Harmon — who cooked 12 burgers for his six grandchildren. Little did the Northeastern State University student know that her message about her sad papaw would go viral and capture many hearts.
Fortunately, Harmon — separated from his wife since 2008 — told Daily Mail that he didn’t take the non-presence of his grandkids as harshly as people assumed.
“I wasn’t like the picture showed, I have a solemn look sometimes, people say I don’t smile enough, but it’s my personality.”
He still enjoys spending time with them and tries making the most of any time he gets with them; being that they have busy lives.
Harmon has been taking advantage of the publicity he’s received, launching a merchandise brand that includes hats, t-shirts, phone holders and pillow cases, all with the the words, “I ate a burger with Sad Papaw” on them, reported the site. The 66-year-old even has his own website.
Here’s what you need to know about Kenny Harmon aka Sad Grandpa:
1. Harmon Gained Fame When His Granddaughter Tweeted a Heartbreaking Photo
Kelsey tweeted a photo of Harmon — looking distraught with a burger in his left hand — that instantly pulled on the heart strings of many. To accommodate the numerous responses Kelsey received, she sent a mass message (shown below) on March 18 in order to show her appreciation to those that were concerned. In the post, she acknowledged that she cannot “accept free gifts, donations, or free things of any kind,” since she is a college student.
However, not all of the feedback wasn’t positive, as certain users sent death threats to Kelsey’s cousins. In response, she sent a message (shown below) on March 17 urging them to leave her cousins alone.
2. The Viral Photo Had Over 181,000 Retweets
Within the first 24 hours of Kelsey’s post, the message was retweeted by more than 84,000 people and favorited nearly 150,000 times,” reported Daily Mail. The overwhelming reaction led to numerous responses. Furthermore, the site reported that Harmon’s photo has “even been Photoshopped onto the cover of Drake‘s album for “Take Care,” reported the site.
3. Several Memes Were Created for Sad Papaw
Amid Harmon’s massive audience reach, several funny memes and GIFs were posted on #SadPapaw.
One of the memes featured — as mentioned above — was Harmon on the cover of Drake’s “Take Care” album cover. It received over 530 retweets and 830 likes.
Another meme called Harmon an “Amazing Burger Chef” and “The Internet’s Grandpa.” It got over 4,000 retweets and over 9,000 likes.
A third post features a GIF of a elder man crying as he brings his fist to his mouth. The post got over 300 retweets and over 1,094 favorites.
4. Harmon Has 3 Sons, 6 Adopted Children & 6 Grandchildren
Harmon — a retired iron worker from Norman, Oklahoma — has three sons and six adopted children. He also has six grandchildren, ranging from 12 to 20-years-old; Bryn (12), Brandon (17), Brody (18), Kelsey (19), Brock (20), Kaleb (21).
Kelsey (shown above) is a Division II softball player that studies biology at Northeastern State University. Brock is also a college student that plays baseball (shown below to Harmon’s left).
Harmon spoke highly to the site of Kelsey, Brock and his other grandson — Kaleb — who sells cars for a living.
“Kaleb does long hours at the dealership selling cars, Brock has been out of town a lot because he’s been at college and then there’s Kelsey at college.”
While the family loves each other dearly, Kelsey did acknowledge to the site that they sometimes don’t see eye to eye.
“When we get together it’s a lot of fun, but like any other cousins we do argue and we do have our fights, but at the end of the day we do love each other.”
Harmon — who enjoys taking his grandkids to sporting events — told the site that trips to Disneyland were a tradition.
“I like taking the kids to watch sports. It’s been ball games – football, basketball, baseball, softball and trips to Disneyland.”
5. ‘At Least 100’ People Showed Up at Sad Grandpa’s Cookout
“At least 100 people from around the country” showed up to a March 26 cookout for Harmon, reported PEOPLE. The announcement regarding the event was made on March 18 by Harmon’s grandson, Brock Harmon.
During the occasion, which took place from 11am to 4pm, Sad Papaw t-shorts were sold as Harmon took pictures with his supporters. The popular grandfather — for $2 each — even cooked burgers for attendees.
Hefty — the household product brand — showed some love by sending party supplies to the cookout (shown below).
Below are some of the many photos that Harmon took with attendees.