The Story Behind the Viral Tweet of a College Student Being the Only Grandchild to Visit Grandpa

The other grandkids had prior obligations when the impromptu plans were made.

ByABC News
March 18, 2016, 1:52 PM

— -- One college student’s tweet about her grandfather exploded on social media after people were touched by the story behind the photo.

Kelsey Harmon visited her grandpa in Washington, Oklahoma, on Wednesday during her college spring break from Northeastern State University. Her grandpa, whom she calls "Papaw," had planned an impromptu gathering for all his grandkids to come over while Kelsey was home, according to Kelsey’s cousin, Brock Harmon, 20.

“He was asking me if I could come but I had another obligation, so I told him I would swing by for lunch the next day,” Brock told ABC News today.

The other cousins were also “a little busy,” Brock said, and so Kelsey was the only one who showed up. She tweeted a photo of her grandpa and wrote “Dinner with papaw tonight ... he made 12 burgers for all 6 grandkids and I’m the only one who showed. Love him.”

After sending out the tweet, she couldn’t have expected what had happened next, Brock said.

The tweet received tens of thousands of retweets in just a few hours, and currently has over 130,000 retweets and 220,000 likes and counting.

Twitter users poured out their hearts with sadness for Papaw.

Some people even adding a little humor into their support for Papaw.

But some tweets became harsh and threatening, so Kelsey tweeted to reassure people that her grandfather was fine and loved all his grandchildren.

Papaw didn’t understand how popular the tweet became because he’s not on social media, Brock said. But he was happy to hear that people were saying kind things on Twitter.

“He wasn’t upset. He understood that we all had other obligations,” Brock said. He added that “people misunderstood,” the tweet and he and his other cousins see Papaw “quite regularly.”

“We’re very family-oriented,” he said.

Brock visited his grandpa the next day, as promised, and tweeted a photo of the two of them eating lunch. “GUYS DON'T WORRY!!!! I CAME TO PAPAWS HOUSE AND AM HAVING A BURGER!!!!!!!” he tweeted.

He explained that he tweeted the photo to keep the situation lighthearted so people would understand that Papaw was not upset. He added that “We’re not doing this for the fame. We’re trying to make this a learning experience.”

The photo that Kelsey tweeted was meant to be a “lesson for everybody who doesn’t take advantage of having their grandparents around,” Brock said. “Go see them and tell them you love them.”