Raylin Pellatt was warned by her father that he had something funny in store for her 21st birthday on July 21. But neither of them had any warning about how popular it would get.
Raylin’s father, Joe Pellatt, posted a picture on Facebook that featured Raylin posing next to a sea lion that jumped into their fishing boat while the family was on a trip to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, near the end of December 2014. The picture is innocent enough, but it was Joe’s subtle joke in the picture’s caption that was the real highlight: “Happy 21st Birthday to my beautiful daughter (left) Raylin.”
Ba dum tss!
Raylin had a heads up about the joke the night before her special day. “My dad goes, ‘Hey, I have this really funny post for your birthday tomorrow that I’m going to post on Facebook,'” Raylin tells PEOPLE. “I was thinking it was going to be a really embarrassing picture of me from when I was really young, but I didn’t know it was going to be the caption.”
Raylin thought her father’s post was humorous, but her coworkers thought it was hilarious, so she took a screenshot of it and uploaded it to Twitter. Turns out, there were many, many more people who thought it was funny. The tweet started gaining hundreds of likes, but because Raylin put her phone on “airplane mode,” the soon-to-be Michigan State senior had no idea it was happening.
- Need a little inspiration? Click here to subscribe to the Daily Smile Newsletter for uplifting, feel-good stories that brighten up your inbox.
When she finally checked her phone the next day, she was flooded with texts from friends telling her that the tweet was doing “really well.” Raylin opened Twitter expecting to see, maybe, a thousand likes for her tweet. Instead, it had received more than 10,000 in 24 hours. Her father’s post—which included her as the punchline—had just become one of the most popular “dad jokes” of 2017. But Raylin says her father has always been funny.
“I would say he’s very good at making me and my sister laugh,” she says. “He has some of the best one-liners. Whenever we have family dinners, he always makes us laugh. We’re always good at poking fun at each other, in a nice and loving way.”
And what was one of her father’s initial reactions to his joke becoming so popular? “He’s like, ‘Oh well, I am really funny so it kind of makes sense,'” Raylin says.
But, Joe hopes for something a little more than just “likes” and “favorites.”
“Now when I tell him about how many more people have liked it, his response is, ‘Did one of those people offer you a job?’ because he’s set on me getting a job after graduation and an internship for the fall,” Raylin says (she is currently interning at an advertising agency). “So I think that’s what he’s most excited about.”
The tweet has more than 600,000 “favorites” as of Tuesday. Since the Pellatt’s are a family that loves to joke with each other, Raylin says she needs to get some good-hearted revenge.
“Now I really have to think of something good to get him back for this!” she says.