Hundreds Show Up For Cookout With Oklahoma's 'Sad Papaw'

Saturday, March 26th 2016, 2:41 pm
By: Grant Hermes

Hundreds of people turned out for a cookout in Purcell for the Twitter sensation “Sad Papaw” Saturday afternoon.

The story of “Sad Papaw” went viral following a tweet posted from his granddaughter.

Kelsey Harmon tweeted a photo of her grandfather sitting at the kitchen table with a burger and fries captioned, “dinner with papaw tonight… he made 12 burgers for all 6 grandkids and I’m the only one who showed.”

“It had (sic) went around the world before I knew about it,” Papaw, whose real name is Kenny Harmon, said. “An ordinary person seeing that it's unbelievable! It's more like a movie than real life.”

The tweets and posts of support poured in. 

Soon, the photo was retweeted by thousands, resulting in memes, and a campaign to get him on the Ellen show. But the grandchildren who didn’t go to the dinner began getting death threats and that's when one grandson had an idea.

“We were sitting around the living room and it happened, and we come up with the idea 'why don't we have a burger cookout?'" Brock Harmon said.

Brock came up with the idea to have a cookout open to anyone complete with T-shirts and hats for sale that read, “I had a burger with sad papaw.”

The burgers cost $2. The T-shirts and hats cost $16 and $11, respectively. Brock Harmon said the money would go to pay for the cost of the 2,000 burger patties and food. The rest of the money would go to Kenny Harmon who would be able to use it for whatever he wanted.

“We figured there’d be some people that'd show up!” Kenny Harmon said as he took a break from shaking hands and taking selfies.

Hundreds packed into the family's flea market lot on Saturday, hoping to snap a quick pic and grab a bite of Twitter fame. Lines for burgers and a meet and greet wove across the lot as country music blared from a local radio station.

“We're a small community and it's our papaw? It's crazy to think it's our papaw,” Brock Harmon said.

“It was sad, you know? Here he makes this dinner for his grandchildren, but I understand it, we all have busy lives,” Sharon Fernandez said.

She and her two daughters drove 20 hours from southern California for the cookout. They were some of the few that came from across the country and the globe to get their slice of Internet notoriety.

“We saw it on Facebook and my best friends live four hours from here and I said, ‘Hey. Meet us out here,’” Fernandez said.

Her friends did not make the cookout.

While the fame was nice, the Harmons hoped their new fans will take home a message along with their selfies. That sometimes you need to slow down and cookout to appreciate the ones you love.

"If you've got your grandparents, go see them. Take them to dinner. Go hang out. Realize they're not going to be around forever,” Brock Harmon said.

3/18/16 Related Story: Sad Oklahoma ‘Papaw’ Becomes Viral Internet Sensation

Ironically, Kelsey Harmon was not at the cookout. She had a college softball game she could not miss. Harmon plays for the Northeastern State University team. Her cousins said she got a pass for missing the cookout, because she attended the original.