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Christmas came early for 12-year-old Matthew Baker when he got the chance to meet his favorite YouTube philanthropist, try a Mr. Beast burger and pocket $200.
“He is floating on cloud nine,” said mother Sara Baker. “This is the best day for him.”
Like many Wilsonians, Matthew realized the Greenville-based YouTube star was planning something here after seeing the Burger Boy restaurant’s Monday morning Facebook post. They lined up around 8:30 a.m. Tuesday, but the first cars started flocking to the area around 4 a.m. even though the start time was 11 and burgers started being slung closer to noon.
“Even if I just get to see him, it would be a dream come true,” Matthew said as he waited in line.
“During COVID, I started loving Mr. Beast too because that is all we watched,” his mother added.
Jimmy Donaldson, known as Mr. Beast, has more than 46 million subscribers watching his videos where he often gives away money, cars, houses and more.
“He inspires people to be better,” said Sara Baker. “It is just amazing what he does and how he gives back so much.”
She said she was thrilled Mr. Beast and Burger Boy teamed up to make the giveaway happen.
Kim Tutor, CEO of Burger Boy parent company Wilson Amusement, said she initially turned down Mr. Beast when she was contacted through the Wilson Chamber of Commerce.
“Wilson was chosen particularly because of Burger Boy,” said Will Hyde, a Mr. Beast producer.
Hyde said for several months, his team worked with Virtual Dining Concepts to develop Mr. Beast Burgers. The virtual restaurant will launch in December with restaurants around the country franchising rights to serve the sandwiches, which customers can then order through popular online delivery services.
Crews filmed every inch of Tuesday’s promotional event to splice together a video that will be released in conjunction with the brand launch.
“I was told this was going to be bigger than when Elvis came to Wilson back in the day,” Tutor said. “Then I was told this was going to be the biggest thing that had ever happened in Wilson.”
The line of cars stretched for several miles down U.S. 301 as Mr. Beast and his cohorts gave out food, money and other prizes at random.
Hunter Waddell and his friends arrived around 8 a.m. and were in the second car served, receiving four burgers, two drinks and $200 to split.
“It was pretty surreal, to be honest,” Waddell said.
Hyde said the burgers are a way for the Mr. Beast cast to engage with fans while venturing into something new.
“(Mr. Beast) loves helping out communities anywhere, but it is great doing something close to home while helping out a local business that has definitely been affected by everything in 2020,” he said.
As part of the pop-up restaurant, Mr. Beast brought in new grills and work tables that will forever be a part of the Burger Boy kitchen.
“It’s amazing,” Tutor said with tears in her eyes. “We’ve got two theaters and two restaurants hanging by a thread, and you just don’t know what a blessing this was to fall in our lap.”
While the experience is one Matthew Baker will never forget, his mother said he plans to save the $200 from Mr. Beast and put it toward his college education.
“I’m glad Burger Boy said yes, but I really thank Mr. Beast for making this big event happen,” Sara Baker concluded, “because Wilson really needed this.”