Before going to bed Wednesday night, NC State first-year Maggie Beal was browsing her social media feeds when she started getting messages from her friends from back home in Mt. Airy, N.C. Her grandparents had told an employee at the local Chick fil A about her making the Dean’s List after her first semester at NC State, and that employee, named Rachel Curry, had tweeted about it and asked the Twitter universe to help her find and congratulate the Maggie she had heard so much about.
“I read it and responded to thank her, and I figured that would be the end of it,” Beal said. “I went to bed, and when I woke up it had thousands of likes and retweets. At first I thought it was a mistake or that my phone was just glitching, so I had my roommate check it out too and we both just couldn’t believe it.”
If your name is Maggie, you attend NC State University, and you’re grandparents come to chickfila in mount airy, you should know that they adore you and they were telling me how proud they are of you. They told me you made the Dean’s List, good job girl.— Rachel Curry (@RachelCurry2000) February 27, 2020
Twitter do your thing
As of Monday morning, the tweet had accumulated more than 45,900 retweets and 444,500 likes. She has gained about 1,400 new followers on Twitter and even about 200 new followers on Instagram. She’s also received about 350 messages on Twitter and has tried to respond to them all.
“I thought if they went through the trouble of reaching out and congratulating me, I felt like I needed to reciprocate that. It took a while, but I did it,” she said with a laugh. “The town I’m from doesn’t even have 20,000 people in it, so for there to be 440,000 people liking this is crazy.”
The grandparents, who Beal fondly calls “Nana and Papa,” do not use social media and are mostly unaware of their newfound Internet fame. They helped raise Beal and her sister, Cat, who also attends NC State.
“We’re so close that I classify them as my best friends, and they’re so special to me,” Beal said. “Like, there are my friends here at school, and then there are my grandparents.”
Since their two granddaughters went off to college, Beal’s grandparents, named David and Millie, have been frequenting their local Chick fil A in Mt. Airy where the employees have memorized their orders. They always order under the name of “Maggie”—partly out of love for their granddaughter, but also because they didn’t want to use their own names. Eventually Rachel Curry, an employee at the restaurant, asked them why they use the name. That’s when she authored the now famous tweet offering congratulations to their beloved granddaughter.
“I love that Rachel sent that out and that people responded so well because in this day and age, our social media can get bogged down with a lot of negativity,” Beal said. “So for people to have this kind, essentially pure moment from a pair of small town grandparents was really special.”
Beal, who is majoring in criminology, is proud of herself for making the Dean’s List as well.
“Obviously it’s the goal for everybody, but coming into college I kind of went through the culture shock, especially coming from such a small town,” Beal said. “At first I was a little nervous about how successful I would be at a school with a population greater than my hometown. It was just really pleasing to make the Dean’s List and get that affirmation that I’m doing good work.”
The experience has brought Beal even closer to her family—and it has shown her that she has a new, extended Wolfpack family.
“I love the big school environment and being a part of the Wolfpack network is such a cool thing for me that sort of came out in the tweet,” Beal said. “There were so many people who reached out that were either alumni or other Wolfpack fans, and I felt like I had that backing behind me.”