It’s 7:30 a.m. on a rainy Tuesday morning in Toronto and Tony Restivo is exhausted as he unloads construction equipment from the elevator at work. He hasn’t had a proper night’s sleep in almost a week. Not since his wife, Sandy Restivo, sneakily uploaded a video to Facebook on Jan. 9, of him dancing to pop star Ariana Grande’s hit song “Into You” at a construction site. Restivo’s co-worker had secretly recorded him about 20 seconds before he noticed. Then, he really put on a show.
The 43-year-old construction worker can be seen shaking his hips, thrusting his pelvis and throwing in a couple of his signature high kicks to the delight of his fellow workers. Much to the surprise of Restivo and his wife, the Facebook post was an instant hit.
Within days, the video had attracted millions of views and was featured in reports in Canadian and U.S. media, including Buzzfeed and USA Today. Ariana Grande even shared a clip of Restivo’s moves with her 94 million Instagram followers on Saturday, with the caption: “hell yeah dude #thatkick #mood.”
Restivo told CTVNews.ca that he and his wife have been inundated with phone calls, emails, and text messages from reporters requesting interviews and friends offering their congratulations. The couple have both lost sleep responding to the barrage of messages. Restivo said Grande’s catchy tune isn’t helping either.
“I would get home and try to sleep and that song was in my head. I just couldn’t sleep!” he said.
Restivo admitted that he was overwhelmed by all of the sudden attention.
“This is just crazy. I’m not used to this,” he said. “I’m used to attention from my family and friends because I’m like the class clown kind of guy. I like to make people laugh and want everybody to have a good time. But this I did not expect.”
The humble construction worker explained that he has always liked to dance to lighten the mood and that it helps the work day go by faster. Restivo said the day his dance was recorded was just like any other.
“I do this once in a while. I start dancing, the guys laugh,” he said. “I’m just glad people are getting a kick out of it.”
When asked if he had any plans to share his popular moves on a regular basis, on a dedicated YouTube channel for example, Restivo firmly shot down the idea. He said he’s not actively seeking any more attention, well for his dancing anyway. Restivo hinted that he might release a couple of songs on iTunes in the future, since he used to enjoy covering songs, by the likes of Elvis Presley and Michael Jackson, years ago.
For now, the cheery dancing sensation just wants to deliver a simple message to his audience.
“People need to smile and enjoy life,” Restivo said. “Life is too short.”