'Get outta town!': Dad thrilled by light-up sneakers on 70th birthday
Josh Elliott, CTVNews.ca
Published Tuesday, October 4, 2016 8:48AM EDT
A Calgary-area grandfather says he's still trying to wrap his head around his sudden internet fame, after a video of his reaction to receiving light-up sneakers as a birthday gift went viral.
The video, which was posted by his daughter Sarah on Instagram, shows Thorne, surrounded by family on his 70th birthday, opening a box of Nike running shoes. At first, Thorne appears mildly pleased by the gift, but his reaction transforms into sheer excitement when he realizes that there are red, pressure-activated LED lights in the heels of the shoes.
"Oh!" he shouts in the video, dropping the box and jumping to his feet. Thorne then punches the air in excitement, and yells, "Get outta town!"
Sarah Thorne posted the video online last July, but it took some time to catch on. An animated .GIF of the video, created by Evolved Footwear in mid-September, has been viewed over 5 million times on Reddit. Sarah claims the original video has been viewed 40 million times, although it is no longer visible on her Instagram page.
"Forty million people out there, that's like more than the entire population of Canada," Ted Thorne told CTV Calgary on Monday.
"I really wanted a pair of those shoes," Thorne said. He says he was "truly shocked" by the gift, because "everybody said you can't get adult shoes (with light-up heels)."
Thorne says he's wanted a pair of the light-up sneakers for eight years, ever since he saw a group of students wearing the shoes perform a dance during a school assembly.
"We'd shut all the lights off and they'd do their dance," Thorne recalls. "I thought, 'Gee, it's too bad I can't join them.'"
Although Thorne loves his new shoes, he's shy to take them out in public, lest someone recognize him from the viral video. Instead, he's stuck to wearing them around the house on his rural property, in part because he has no choice: his old shoes have vanished.
"They threw them away!" he says.