Mom of ‘Success Kid’ Says Meme Helped Save Father’s Life

May 24, 2019 Updated: May 24, 2019

A boy who went viral about a decade ago due to the “Success Kid” meme is now 10, and his mother said that the picture helped save his father’s life.

Sam Griner, the boy, became a meme at the age of 11 months, showing a picture of him clutching sand on the beach. The meme has been used to describe a moment of stupidity that turned out to be better than expected, and it was popularized on Reddit, 4chan, and social media websites.

Tens of thousands of variations of the meme have been created since it first became popularized.

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Exactly 10 years later and still the best Success Kid ever! #HappySuccessKidDay

A post shared by Laney Griner (@laneymg) on

The mother of the boy, Lacey, told Unilad earlier this month that the meme changed their life forever.

The picture, she said, had nothing to do with “success.” The boy was merely eating sand when she snapped the photo.

“Justin and I took Sam to the beach that day specifically to take photos. I’d recently purchased my first dSLR camera and wanted to get some nicer family photos with baby Sammy, who was just 11 months old at that time,” she said of the photo, which has now been viewed likely hundreds of millions of times.

She added, “We went to the beach and as soon as I would put Sam down in the sand, he’d get a handful of sand and try to put it in his mouth, as babies that age do with everything.”

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My favorite kid. ❤

A post shared by Laney Griner (@laneymg) on

She added: “The Success Kid shot was taken just as he was about to put his hand in his mouth. If you look at the photo closely, you can see sand in his hand and around his lips.”

Lacey said her son would typically make “the funniest, silliest faces.”

According to The Metro, in 2015, he attempted to raise money for his father to have a kidney transplant. His family managed to raise $100,000 for a successful operation.

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Success Kid SMASH!

A post shared by Laney Griner (@laneymg) on

“I didn’t mention Success Kid on the GoFundMe page because I wanted it to be about Justin. Later I decided to post a link to the fundraiser on my Twitter page and said, ‘If everyone who ever created a Success Kid meme donated $1, we could save Success Dad’s life,'” Lacey also told Unilad about the fundraising efforts.

The boy’s father had a kidney transplant in 2015.

“There were so many nice comments and people sharing similar stories. I wish everyone could experience the best of humanity in the way that we did. It’s a reminder to me that people are overwhelmingly good,” Lacey explained.

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No one does Success Kid like #SuccessKid.

A post shared by Laney Griner (@laneymg) on

Website KnowYourMeme said the original photo was shot in August 2007 by his mother, Laney Griner. The photo then made the rounds on MySpace after it was uploaded on Flickr and Getty Images. Later, Reddit picked up the meme in 2011, according to Business Insider. The Obama White House even used the image to promote immigration reform

The meme was originally called “I Hate Sandcastles” but grew into the “Success Kid” meme.