It started with a random idea hatched during class to score attention for YouTube videos. It’s safe to say that 22 year-old friends Ryan Leander and Michael Wekall have accomplished that, and by the time their mission is complete, YouTube hits might not be the only thing they have to show for their work. Leander and Wekall created AHugFromTaylorSwift.com. The goal is just that – be hugged by singer Taylor Swift. Yes, Swift knows of the website, and is offering challenges to the students via her own YouTube account. After completing the first task of helping senior citizens across the street, the duo will premiere a video that incorporates the number 13 in to good deeds. Leander told me on “The Ralphie Radio Show” that they’ll upload the clip on April 13. Yes, 13 is Taylor’s lucky number.
“We never saw it getting this big,” remarked Leander, who called in to “The RRS” from Alabama. Wekall is a student at Auburn University, while Ryan takes on-line courses. “It’s definitely hard to concentrate with school and this going on and just like a whole other separate life that you have to keep going.”
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Leander said that they keep in touch with a middle man who works with Taylor Swift, although he would not reveal the man’s identity or job title. It was this person that discovered Leander and Wekall on-line and alerted Swift. Apparently the songstress was flattered, and now the story is gaining national attention. Although their mission is now transforming in to a feel-good tale, Leander admits they were a little afraid of coming off as creepy.
“That was one of our major fears because I’m sure she gets a lot of that stuff,” said Leander. “We’re just two average guys, just wanting to have fun.”
But when will the fun come to a head, with a hug from Taylor? Leander has no idea.
“Your guess is as good as ours,” he replied. “Hopefully there won’t be too many (challenges), we’re both trying to graduate and get some jobs.”
In this day and age, that task might even be harder than scoring a hug from Grammy-award winning superstar. The students will surely find out soon enough.