William Shatner and a Boy Named Everett

What do William Shatner, Star Wars and Kraft Mac & Cheese have in common? A red-haired boy named Everett Botwright, who has very particular tastes when it comes to what he eats. Everett, you see, is Autistic. As a result, many foods are unpalatable to him. This isn’t a kid that is just a picky eater. He, quite literally, would starve rather than eat what he does not like.
To say that his parents were concerned would be an understatement. As with any parent, Reed Botwright and his wife were always on the lookout for something that their son would not only eat, but enjoy Screen Shot 2017-03-03 at 11.45.10 AMeating. So when they were walking down the food isles, one day, and Everett spotted a box of Star Wars Kraft Macaroni and Cheese and said “I want that”, they scooped it up. Turns out that the shapes and taste were just the thing for this particular eater, so the family bought up as many boxes as they could find. Things were good, until the supply started to run low. Then Reed, an avid Social Media user, took to Social Media with his story and an Instagram pic of his son holding a box of his favourite food. What happened next was pure Social Media gold.

As with most any story dealing with a child in need, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram became abuzz with support and suggestions on how to get more boxes of the limited edition KD to the family, although mostly through Reed’s network of friends and their friends. That is until one person decided to reach out to a well known Canadian icon and actor, asking him to spread the word. Now, William Shatner is known for supporting a variety of different causes and charities, but surely he gets hundreds, even thousands, of these requests to share or support. Would he take up the torch for a little red haired kid on Vancouver Island? Yes, he would. In fact, he not only took up the torch, poured gasoline on it and threw it on a giant Twitter signal fire.

Social Media Goes Boom!

Within hours of William Shatner’s tweets (yes, TWEETS, plural) about the story and suggestions of where and Screen Shot 2017-03-03 at 11.44.18 AMwho they might be able to get more boxes from, the Botwright’s were flooded with messages of support and help. News spread across the Social Media channels and soon the media was calling about the outpouring of Social Media (and Sci-Fi icon) love for this little boy. Within days, print (including the New York Post, The Huffington Post and the Danish online news channel, Newsbreak.dk), radio and television media were sharing the Social Media post that was going viral in a VERY big way. But what of the boxes of Star Wars KD? Did Social Media deliver these badly needed boxes of “yummy is my taste” (as Everett puts it)? Oh, yes, indeed.

Enough KD to Last Hime Through College

First to really step up to the plate was the local Real Canadian Superstore, who reached out to their lower mainland (Vancouver and Area) locations to pull in as many boxes as possible. Then the mail started to arrive. Individual boxes to Screen Shot 2017-03-03 at 12.14.13 PMentire cases of Kraft KD sporting the mugs of Master Yoda, Darth Vader, C-3PO and R2-D2. Then (after being tagged for the millionth time, I am sure) Kraft Canada showed up, literally on the doorstep, with more boxes, Star Wars displays, a $10,000 donation to an Autism charity and the chance of a lifetime for their newest KD fan; a chance to pick the design of their next Mac and Cheese dinner noodles.

Some Social Good Amongst the Nasty

Putting aside the irony of Star Trek’s iconic Captain reaching out to help a kid find a Star Wars themed food, William Shatner helped remind us the power of good in the Social Media space. As the rest of the Internet continues to grow its anti-Social side with devisive politics, angry finger pointing and shallow self-indulgence, it’s nice to see a Hollywood influencer boldly go to support a perfect stranger in need.

Sean Smith

Sean is Managing Partner in ThatSocialMediaGuy.com, a Social Media consulting company based in Campbell River, BC. Sean has almost 20 years of experience in the IT industry, from a HelpDesk Manager to business owner. Sean has been active on Social Media platforms, since joining LinkedIn in 2005. Since then he has consulted on the development of Social Media strategies for a wide variety of businesses, from retail to tourism, instructed at workshops, been a guest and keynote speaker at various conferences, has been working as the tech/start-up author for Steamfeed.com and has recently become the Editor of the Social Media Camp Blog.

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