When Motherboard last spoke to Kelvin Peña, he was a seemingly pretty normal 17-year-old whose backyard in East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania happened to be lousy with deer. Peña, who recently moved to the white-tailed deer state from Texas, had befriended the creatures, and was making videos of himself feeding them donuts and dunking on them on the basketball court.
The deer he dubbed his "best friend" is named Money. "I just want to show everybody how I'm spending my day. I'm out here eating crackers with my pet deer named Money," he said in that first video, giving Money some Club crackers. "I got you, bro."
Well, Peña's videos have now gone viral. In the last day or so, his number of Twitter followers (handle @COLDGAMEKELV) has climbed from a couple thousand to over 21,000, as of the time of this writing.
"Yesterday I had 1,500 followers on Instagram, and today I have 40,000," he told me, clearly a little bewildered by the public's enthusiasm for his backyard escapades with a bunch of deer.
Peña said he's had interest from as far away as Switzerland, and that he made the news in Puerto Rico, where he used to live. "My friends in Texas are like, BRO!" he told me, and lots of "random people" are calling and saying they want to come see the deer.
Peña is now capitalizing on his newfound fame by selling deer-themed shirts. They say "EVERYBODY EATS" with a cartoony picture of a deer, eating piles of money.
"A lot of the shirts are selling. It's crazy," he told me. As for the catchphrase, "it kind of makes sense, because I feed the deer every day." (After taking some heat for feeding the deer Pringles and donuts, Peña vowed to get them "healthy shit.")
Peña hasn't heard too many negative comments so far, he told me. (The worst was "You'll catch Lyme disease.") As for why people have responded to his videos like this, "A word that they use a lot is pure," he told me, philosophically. "They call my videos very pure. I don't know, they probably just like the deer and how nice I am to them."
So what's next for Peña and his BF Money? "Really I'm trying to think of what's next, honestly," he said. "Maybe I can do something positive, like start a foundation, and get people to raise money for deer," although conservationists actually say deer are overpopulated in many parts of the US. (In our last conversation, Peña told me he didn't think his neighbours saw them as a problem in the area.)
As for the fame, "it's still kind of fresh," he said.