‘Success Kid’ Turns 13 This Year; Where is He Now?
Who can forget Success Kid, Sam Griner, who in 2007 began to take the meme world by storm with his feisty fist pump picture?
Well Sam turns 13 this year and his life has been more than interesting.
Sammy Griner became famous on the Internet after a picture of him as an 11-month-old infant went viral. In the picture Sammy has his hand balled up into the fist with a pugnacious look on his face, the image quickly turned into the “Success Kid” meme.
The meme gained initial popularity captioned “I Hate Sandcastles”, suggesting that the boy had just destroyed another child’s sandcastle. Eventually the interpretation of the image shifted, focusing on the boy’s facial expression and clenched fist as a gesture of self-congratulation, adding captions that boasted of small personal victories and good fortune.
Sammy keeps up with his fans via a Facebook page, and as I myself have used his photo many times in memes, I decided to see what he is up to. I was shocked to find out that he is almost a teenager. Where does the time go?
Sammy’s mom, Laney, told ABC news at one point that while at first she wasn’t happy about a photo from her son at the beach had gone viral, today she’s happy it happened.
“I was not at all happy when I first saw it. Sammy was still a baby then and it felt like a violation. I’d also never heard the word ‘meme’ prior to that, and I just did not understand the concept. Around the summer of 2009 I was beginning to understand the concept of memes a bit more when I first saw my photo used as a Success Kid meme. That changed my perspective entirely.”
This is because biggest item on Sammy’s plate seems to be his success in raising money for his father Justin’s kidney transplant.
“By now, it’s just out there. What am I going to do? At least it’s positive,” she said. “Without that happening, how much could I get this recognition about my husband’s kidney transplant?”
Justin became ill in 2006 and suffered full kidney failure in 2009, forcing him to go on dialysis.
He had been on dialysis for 12 hours a week and needed to raise $75,000 for a transplant and medical expenses. They raised $101,125 of the $75,000 goal and Justin got his transplant!
“It’s so humbling and reassures our faith in humanity that people want to help people,” Justin said at the time.
In August 2015 ABC News reported that Justin had received a transplant. He was doing well post surgery, and was recovering at home.
But what is Sammy doing now? Well here he is via his mother’s Instagram:
And some of his life from his Facebook page:
Sammy’s been offered several television opportunities (he’s not into it). He is constantly stopped by people in public once they realize who he is (he’s not so into that either). “I don’t want to be shown on TV unless it’s like just the picture,” he explained to LADBible: “I’m really happy that I’m famous because I’m glad that people like it. I’m glad it makes people happy when they’re sad. I’m also really happy that I still have a dad.”
What a world we live in. A simple picture posted on the internet can grab so much traction.
Laney licensed the picture. Over the years the image was used on t-shirts sold by Hot Topic, and for Radio Shack to use the picture around its corporate offices. It has also appeared on Xbox screensavers.
What a success story, no pun intended.