REIDVILLE, S.C. (WSPA) – A lunchtime surprise at an Upstate school has gone viral on TikTok.
The video shows third grader Pierce Bravery Wilkins walking into the cafeteria at Reidville Elementary School only to be surprised by his dad, Jeff Wilkins, who brought him McDonald’s for lunch.
“I normally go to see him on field day, but they didn’t have that this year,” said Jeff. “I knew I had to go see him before school let out.”
Jeff said he wanted his visit to his son to be a surprise, and the video was meant for his mother.
“I just wanted her to see his reaction,” he said.
In the video Pierce can be seen walking into the cafeteria, a black basketball under his arm. As soon as he sees his father, the boy’s face lights up and he gives his dad a hug from across a lunchroom table.
“Dad, you did not have to do this,” a still-smiling Pierce says when Jeff hands his son his lunch, a 10-piece chicken nugget and large fry from Mcdonald’s.
The video has garnered more than 2 million views on TikTok, and generated more than 6,000 comments. It has been shared by the official ESPN TikTok page and others.
The majority of the comments on the video have been positive, Jeff said.
“He’s gotten the most compliments just for his manners. When a kid says you didn’t have to, that speaks volume for a third grader,” he said.
But he’s also seen people ask if his son’s surprise is because he’s been an absent father, or just got out of prison. Neither could be further from the truth.
“He’s my buddy. We are everywhere together. I’m always with him,” Jeff said. “I’m his basketball coach. Everywhere I go I want that 9-year-old next to me.”
Jeff said he’s been most grateful to see comments from other dads saying the video has inspired them to step up and do more for their children.
“That’s beautiful. That makes me feel good to hear that,” he said. “It’s a call to all dads – it doesn’t depend on what the shade of our skin is, we can take the time to go out and see our kids and make an impact.”