Eric “Bean” McKay of Woodbridge, Virginia, is a 15-year-old boy with a profound love of peanut butter.
So much so that the teen — who has autism — eats a PB&J sandwich three times a day. He’s been doing that for a while.
“Like many kids with autism, he’s sensitive to textures and self-regulates his food,” his mom, Tracy McKay, noted on Twitter recently.
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The writer and mom of five has consulted several doctors about the diet, she added — and he’s “healthy and an amazing kid.”
No stranger to stocking up on her boy’s favorite food, she took action when she saw a Lidl peanut butter sale in their area.
The jars were going for 78 cents each, so she bought 72 of them.
Bean’s mom here. To the folks worried about his diet:
Like many kids with autism, he’s sensitive to textures and self-regulates his food. Three pediatricians & a registered dietician have consulted on him over the years; he’s fine & healthy & an amazing kid.#lidlBeanutButter
— Tracy M (@dandelionmama) October 18, 2018
He was happy — and focused. After numbering each jar, the teen hunkered down and over the course of almost a year, finished the 72nd jar this past October. The PB&J enthusiast took to Twitter to share his journey with the grocery store company.
“My mom says it’s time for you to have another peanut butter sale,” he added.
But this turned out to be only the beginning of his journey, as the tweet got Lidl’s attention. The deal was this: If the teenager got 72,000 retweets — a thousand for every jar of peanut butter — he would receive a lifetime’s supply of his cherished food. As a show of good faith, the boy was sent another 72 jars to hold him over while the internet did its thing.
Three months and one viral tweet later, the boy surpassed his goal. He currently has over 76,000 retweets. “Congrats, Bean! We’re over the moon that you reached your goal,” Lidl commended him in a tweet. “The Lidl elves have just received a fresh shipment with your name on it! Could you stop by our warehouse tomorrow?” And so he went.
Eric McKay, whom everybody knows as “Bean,” is 15 years old, prefers dressing in colorful tie-dyes and eats peanut butter sandwiches on toasted English muffins three times a day. https://t.co/CuteEaTjST #autism #asd
— ASDF (@myASDForg) January 17, 2019
When he arrived at the facility, the teen was presented with a five-year supply of his beloved spread, his first of batch of many.
Conscious of the absurd amount of free food he’d received, Bean McKay decided to share the blessing. He own dad was one of many furloughed government workers because of the ongoing partial government shutdown — and he found himself in the perfect position to offer help.
After another conversation with the store, the teenager implemented a deal for federal workers at the store in Dumfries, Virginia: Any employee not receiving pay due to the government shutdown could come in and get three free jars of peanut butter.
On Wednesday, January 23, Tracy McKay and her son, Bean, took time to hand out free jars to furloughed employees.
From enthusiast to competitor to philanthropist — a teenager made his mark while enjoying his favorite food along the way.
Eric McKay, AKA "Bean," loves peanut butter and won a lifetime supply from Lidl after a social media challenge. Now he's sharing it with furloughed feds. See video. #ShutdownStories https://t.co/VVUxLpcLYU
— WTOP (@WTOP) January 23, 2019