The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Local News

December 27, 2012

Alabama family's surprise is watched by millions

— OXFORD, Ala. (AP) — The night before Daniel Buckhannan exchanged gifts with his father, he could barely sleep.

"I woke up in the middle of the night thinking about it," he said.

After he gave the gift — a ticket to the Bowl Championship Series title game between Alabama and Notre Dame — he's had a little more trouble with restful nights.

"I had to get up in the middle of the night and turn my phone off because I was getting so many direct messages and whatnot," Buckhannan said Wednesday afternoon.

And that's been the Oxford resident's life since he uploaded the 90-second video of his father, Don, finding that ticket tucked inside a Bear Bryant-style fedora.

First it was being excited about modest YouTube views and a Twitter mention by writer and radio show host Clay Travis. Now, it's at more than 3.3 million hits and early-morning phone calls come from New York television producers.

"We thought it was hilarious when it had 5,000 views on YouTube," Don said.

Added Daniel, "We never thought about something like this."

Travis, a writer at southern sports website Outkick the Coverage, said he knew almost as soon as he heard Don exclaim the first "Hot diggity dog," just for getting the hat. Then 23 seconds in when Don's smile broke and he was engulfed by a tsunami of emotions, Travis was certain the viral sky was the limit.

"I think I've got a decent internal thought process," Travis said of a video's vial appeal after the countless numbers he receives from his followers. "It's that great essence of why people love sports.

"It's that rare unvarnished emotion."

Around 11 p.m., Travis tweeted "Bama grandpa gets BCS title tickets. Merry Christmas," with the video to his more than 63,000 Twitter followers, and the rest is Internet history.

Text Only
Local News


Which foreign crisis is the biggest threat to the security of the United States?

None of the above
     View Results
AP Video
US Ready to Slap New Sanctions on Russia Kerry: Not Worried About Israeli Criticism Boater Rescued From Edge of Kentucky Dam Girl Struck by Plane on Florida Beach Dies Rodents Rampant in Gardens Around Louvre House to Vote on Slimmed-down Bill for Border Looming Demand Could Undercut Flight Safety Raw: 2 Shells Hit Fuel Tank at Gaza Power Plant Raw: Massive Explosions From Airstrikes in Gaza Giant Ketchup Bottle Water Tower Up for Sale Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating
Twitter Updates
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Business Marquee