Eric McKay, a 15-year-old who is autistic, loves peanut butter so much that he successfully completed a grocery store chain’s challenge to get 72,000 retweets to win a lifetime supply of peanut butter.
But instead of keeping all the peanut butter, which he worked so hard for, he decided to share it with the federal workers who have been forced to work without pay during the partial government shutdown.
McKay’s peanut-flavored journey began in October, when he tweeted to the Lidl grocery store chain a picture of himself with the 72 jars of store-brand peanut butter his mom had purchased for him in February.
“My name is Bean. I eat peanut butter and jelly English muffins for three meals a day,” McKay, who lives in Woodbridge, Virginia, told the company.
The teen said his mom purchased all 72 jars when they were on sale for 78 cents each. He had numbered all the jars and, at the time of the tweet, had just started on his 72nd jar.
“My mom says it’s time for you to have another peanut butter sale,” he tweeted. “Thanks for your help.”
In response, Lidl sent 72 more jars of peanut butter to McKay, along with a challenge: “If you get 72,000 RTs we’ll give you a lifetime supply of peanut butter. Do you accept our challenge?”
McKay’s mom, Tracy, chimed in to tell the people following the saga that McKay has autism.
“He’s sensitive to textures and self-regulates his food,” she explained.
McKay went to work on his challenge. McKay’s mother told The Washington Post that she thought his chances of winning were “never going to happen.” At the time, according to the post, he had only five followers.
By Christmas, McKay had reached 40,000 retweets, according to the Post. On Thursday, he had 76,000 retweets and more than 2,300 followers.
When he reached his goal, he announced that he wanted to donate his winnings to the workers left unpaid by the government shutdown, according to WTOP. McKay’s father has also been furloughed during the shutdown.
Furloughed employees who want to take advantage of McKay’s generosity can go to the Lidl store in Dumfries, Virginia, at 16601 Dumfries Road.