This teen with autism won a lifetime supply of peanut butter. Now he’s giving back to furloughed government employees
Jan 25, 2019
Seventy two thousand retweets. It’s what LidlUS challenged 15-year-old Eric “Bean” McKay to get to win a lifetime supply of peanut butter, his favorite snack.
Now, over 76,000 retweets later, Bean has earned his lifetime supply, and with the help of Lidl, he’s giving away about five years of it to furloughed government workers in need.
What happened: Back in October 2018, Bean tweeted a picture of himself with 72 empty jars of Lidl peanut butter at LidlUS.
His message to the grocery chain?
“My mom says it’s time for you to have another peanut butter sale.”
My name is Bean. I eat peanut butter and jelly English muffins for three meals a day.
Back in February, my mom bought 72 jars of your peanut butter when it was on sale for 78 cents a jar. I numbered each jar. pic.twitter.com/u4wBgH8rzm
— Philosopher Bean (@BeanPhilosopher) October 16, 2018
- Bean, who has autism, eats English muffins with peanut butter and jelly for every meal, because like many teens with autism, Bean is sensitive to textures and self-regulates his food. Lidl peanut butter happens to be one of his favorites.
- LidlUS responded in kind to Bean’s tweet, telling Bean they’d give him 72 more jars if he was retweeted 72 times. After Bean’s tweet exceeded 72 retweets, LidlUS raised the stakes. “If you get 72,000 RTs, we’ll give you a lifetime supply of peanut butter.”
- With the help of Bean’s family and friends and a push from author Neil Gaiman and Monica Lewinsky, Bean’s tweet was retweeted over 76,000 times, earning him a lifetime supply of Lidl’s peanut butter.
BEAN HAS BEEN OFFERED A LIFETIME SUPPLY OF PEANUT BUTTER IF HE GETS 72,000 RTS TO HIS TWEET. He’s autistic, that’s what he eats. Let’s get him his PBJs. RT his original tweet.
(If you’re worried about his health or nutrition see posts from his mother on original thread.) https://t.co/G7U3Iey7hQ
— Neil Gaiman (@neilhimself) January 11, 2019
- Now Bean, with the help of Lidl, is giving back about five years’ worth of peanut butter to employees affected by the government shutdown.
On Wednesday, Bean and his family handed out three jars of peanut butter to each furloughed government employee who visited Lidl’s Dumfries, Virginia, location.
- “I’m dancing. I’m just happy right now,” Bean told NBC Washington Wednesday night. “That’s the emotion we’re going to go with.”
Bean’s mother Tracy McKay told the Deseret News that the reactions from furloughed employees have been “really individual.”
- “Some people have been excited, some quiet, some somber. It’s rough around DC right now, and people are struggling,” McKay said. “One lady cried. One man wanted to hug Bean, and he’s not big on hugs, so we practiced other ways of interacting.”
The government shutdown hits close to home for Bean’s family. His stepdad Jonathan Lamb, whose family hails from Northern Utah, is one of the hundreds of thousands of people left without pay during the shutdown.
“It’s sad that it’s come to this,” Lamb told NBC Washington. “I’m very proud of how my son has handled it.”
After her first husband passed away, Tracy McKay was a full-time college student and a single mother with three kids on welfare. She said Bean and his siblings remember how hard things were and how important it was to receive help.
Giving away the peanut butter was Bean’s idea and Lidl has been wonderful to him, Tracy McKay said.
“My kids have been through hard things, and they are all deeply compassionate and have seen how people rise up and help, and given the chance now, they do too,” Tracy McKay said.
On giving away a portion of his lifetime supply, Bean said, “It’s easy and it makes people happy.”
Bean and his family will return to the Dumfries Lidl location this Saturday to hand out more peanut butter to furloughed workers between the hours of noon and 4 p.m. EST.
According to Fox 5 DC, all Lidls locations in the DC area are offering specials for furloughed workers and will take $10 off of every $40 spent.