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"I Like Turtles" Kid Becomes Internet Sensation
September 11, 2015
Eight years ago, Nancy Francis of KGW News 8 interviewed a 10-year-old boy named Jonathon Ware at the Portland Rose Festival. The surprising exchange between the two, however, would catapult the clip shown below into becoming one of YouTube's first viral videos. Now that nearly a decade has passed, what has Jonathon Ware been up to?
The conversation in question began innocuously enough as Francis knelt next to Ware and acknowledged his freshly donned zombie appearance, stating to viewers at home that "Jonathon just got an awesome face-paint job." Seeking Ware's opinion on that matter, she turns her attention toward him and simply asks, "What do you think?" Ware's hilarious three-word response of "I like turtles," was probably not what she was expecting to hear.
Though the phrase "I like turtles" was the tag line most often repeated, Francis' seemingly caught-off-guard reaction by the boy's response is frequently commented by viewers of the video as well. For example, YouTube user wlkrstph states, "My favorite part is when the reporter's like 'ok, yeah, uh, good times here (this kid's crazy).'"
The 18-second interview clip, though brief, has now amassed over 49 million views on YouTube. Time Magazine, in fact, placed the candid dialogue in its "YouTube's 50 Best Videos" list. Websites like bestviral.com even have the clip in their "hall of fame" lists.
Most 10-year-olds don't get exposure quite like this.
KGW released an exclusive interview on May 23, 2015, that brings viewers up to speed on the happenings of the former Internet sensation, now 18 years old. In the report, KGW mentions that a month after the initial interview caught fire, a reporter had contacted Ware. The youngster was able to shed some light on the situation by clarifying that his nerves were high that day, and further, he had just spent time exploring an exhibit dedicated to turtles.
The KGW report goes on to say that as of May 2015, Ware lives in Milwaukie, Oregon and works at a water park. When asked by people who recognize him to say his famous line, he says, "I'll do it if I'm in the right mood. Then I just laugh with them." Ware also reveals in the interview that he plans to go to college to study engineering.
Ware didn't receive a financial windfall from his Internet celebrity status, however. He told KGW that his one regret was not trademarking the phrase "I like turtles," because even though a lot of people made money off him saying those three little words, he never received compensation.