The Internet does a lot of weird things, but Alex From Target might be near the top of the list. In case you've been away from social media this week and/or are not a teen girl, Alex From Target is the newest viral meme and teen sensation. The mildly Bieber-evocative Alex Christopher LaBeouf materialized when a customer shopping at a Texas Target photographed and tweeted favorably about him bagging her items at checkout. Sometime on Sunday, Teen Twitter took note, and over the next few hours it retweeted and favorited the heck out of that photo while tracking down the Twitter handle of #AlexFromTarget himself.
Fast-forward a few days and Alex From Target has become a full-on Internet drama. On Sunday, the Internet was frantic: Where had Alex From Target really begun? On Monday, marketing startup Breakr stepped forward to claim credit for fanning the viral flames. "Truly, we never thought it'd go this far, but it proved that with a strong fan base and rally [sic] the fan girls, you can," Breakr CEO Dil-Domine Jacobe Leonares told CNET on Tuesday.
Then came the real twist: Was Breakr telling the truth? After several people—including Alex From Target—questioned the claim on Tuesday, the Internet quickly debunked it.
Apparently there is a company trying to take credit for how the pic taken of me went viral.— DGM_Alex (@acl163) November 5, 2014
My family and I have never heard of this company.— DGM_Alex (@acl163) November 5, 2014
I didn't know the pic was taken or tweeted until my store manager showed me.— DGM_Alex (@acl163) November 5, 2014
So much for that theory! Well, last night we got a bit more insight into the story when Alex From Target appeared on the The Ellen DeGeneres Show. What was Alex From Target's first reaction to #AlexFromTarget? "I thought it was fake," he told Ellen. "And then about an hour later these random girls I've never met before came in and showed me my Twitter page and it had like 5,000 more followers. And I was just really confused." Here's what else we now know for sure about Alex From Target:
- He's 16 years old.
- He's worked at Target for about three months.
- Since #AlexFromTarget took off, he's gotten several marriage proposals.
- He started at 144 Twitter followers and now has nearly 600,000.
Alex admitted to Ellen that he's finding this all a bit overwhelming. And who wouldn't! In a matter of days, Teen Twitter has catapulted him from everyday checkout boy to Internet sensation. On the Internet, Alex From Target might be a viral star. But the Ellen interview leaves no doubt that in the real world, Alex From Target is one thing above all else: a somewhat flummoxed teenage boy.