Where do I start? Ah! Yes! I remember it was the summer of 2015, when my coworker approached me with a short video he wanted me to see. It was a six second video of a young man who had to go to the bathroom, but was fooling around during the bathroom break. In that short six seconds, I was in tears. I couldn’t stop laughing. At that moment, I forgot all about the young man and his comical video! Vine at the time was still new to me! To me, it is impossible to fit so much in six seconds.
One month later, that same young man popped back into my head. I didn’t know his name, and could barely describe his face. I was, or should I say, still, an active YouTuber. I could search for anything there. Even though I was not a part of Vine at the time, I typed in so many searches, desperate to see the young man again. “Bathroom Break Vine”, “Hurry Back Vine”. Those were my selections so far. Just when I was about to give up, I saw his face again, with other Vines he has done thus far. I also learned of his name.
Thomas Sanders! That name will never fade away from my memory. Soon after, I started to watch all the Vines he has done so far. All I can do, was clutch onto my stomach, and allow the tears to roll down my cheeks. I have never cried so much in my life. I also shared his videos with my mother. She too, was gasping for air, as she watched one comedy, after another. Thomas has stayed on my mind like clockwork ever since that day. I soon started to follow Thomas on Twitter, YouTube, Snapchat, and Instagram. I was eager, and hoping that one day, I would finally have the chance to meet Thomas in person.
In October of 2015, all of that changed. As I scrolled down on Thomas’ Twitter account, I saw that he would be coming to New York, to a convention called StreamCon. StreamCon would last from October 30 to November 1st, 2015. I had to meet Thomas! I HAD to meet him! I purchased a ticket to see Thomas on Sunday. However, I saw that the greatest chance to meet him was on Halloween day. After calling StreamCon to cancel the Sunday ticket in exchange for the Saturday ticket, I was overwhelmed! I also realized that I had to work that day, Halloween day. I went to my boss a week before the event, and came up with an excuse to see Thomas! I told him that I would not be able to make it to work on Halloween day, because my father surprised me with a ticket to StreamCon! My boss agreed to give me the day off for Halloween. I still can’t believe that worked!
At last, Halloween and the day that I finally meet Thomas Sanders has arrived! I left my house at around 9 am that morning to get to the Javits Center in New York. I also wore my ‘Thomas Sanders’ shirt that day. It was my first time seeing the Javits Center in person. As I walked in, I couldn’t help but notice how huge it was inside. Beautiful glass structure was surrounding me. It was like looking at diamond stars in the daytime. Then, I saw several large banners that said ‘StreamCon’ on each of them, and headed down the escalator, where StreamCon all starts. I immediately went to the registration counter and showed the ticket agent my online ticket. They soon asked me whom I wanted to meet! I replied along with Vincent Marcus and Matthew Schuller, I also wanted to see Thomas Sanders. They asked if there was anyone else I wanted to meet and my reply was no. I didn’t know any other social media stars at the time, other than Lily Singh and Tyler Oakley. I walked around for a bit, confused and I felt lost, even though I wasn’t. After looking at my Twitter on my phone, I saw where Thomas was giving his interview at the Exhibition Hall! I was too late, and was upset that I missed him! But then I said to myself that I will get another chance! It’s not over yet!
The time to meet Thomas Sanders was at 2 pm. After walking around for two hours impatiently, the time had come. As I was waiting on line, I saw that some people were sitting down, waiting for Thomas, Vincent, and Matthew to come out. There were about 6 or 7 people in front of me! After 7 minutes went by, Matt Hogan, Thomas Sanders’ manager, came out and gave us some candy while we waited for Thomas. As Matt approached me with the bowl of candy, he complimented me on my shirt. I saw a couple Fanders from the corner of my eye staring with happy looks on their faces as he said that. About two minutes later, Vincent, Matthew, and Thomas came out, from behind a black curtain.
There he was. THOMAS SANDERS!!!! My heart was racing faster that Road Runner’s and pounding harder than Thor’s Hammer! Thomas was in a Batman costume wearing red sneakers! I couldn’t help but smile as he met his fans! He was signing autographs and constantly giving hugs to all his fans. I was one person away from meeting him. The staff member asked the girl in front of me, if she wanted to meet Vincent or Matthew. “No, I only came for Thomas”, she replied. So then the staff member asked me if I wanted to meet them and I said “Yes!”. I was shaking a little when met Vincent and Matthew. After talking for about a minute, the shaking feeling went away. We talked as if we were old friends. Afterwards, I gave them each one last hug and a selfie with them. The BIG challenge was next.
Standing in front of me, were two fans that were wrapping it up with Thomas. As he was signing their autographs, he quickly saw my shirt. “Nice shirt”, he said. I wanted to faint right there! After the two people left, it was just me and Thomas! He asked what my name was, and quietly replied, “Tara”. My head was down most of the time and I could barely look at him. It felt as though I wasn’t allowed to look at him. He stroked my hand a couple of times, as if he was getting ready to do a magic trick! We talked about how I follow him on Twitter and how he has liked, so many of my comments! I wanted the conversation to last longer, but there were others waiting to see him! Before I left and said goodbye, Thomas gave me one big teddy bear hug and a selfie. There, the magic ended. Now I knew how Cinderella felt when the clock stroked to twelve, except her night lasted longer than mine. I shared my picture of Thomas on Twitter and we both said that it was a pleasure to meet one another.
I continued to tweet and like his pictures and comments soon after. Never, have I done something like this! Constantly tweeting someone whom I care for! I don’t like being a pain! Every time I tweeted him or sent him a message on Tumblr, I felt a little guilty each time I did those things! I still feel that way to this day! The year 2016 has arrived. Another year, another chance at glory. When April arrived, I was excited because my birthday was after April Fools Day. After my birthday, I saw that Thomas was having a small get-together at the Tumblr HQ in New York. Part of me said don’t go, but then I went for it. The event was ten days after my birthday, April 12, 2016. Again, I told my boss that I had to leave an hour early for school purposes. My school was located in Manhattan anyway, so it was the perfect excuse.
I left my job at 3 pm to meet Thomas Sanders at 4 pm. I still don’t know how I made it to Tumblr HQ in less than an hour, by train. It was a short event that would last two hours. As I walked into the lobby, there were about 25 to 30 other people standing around. I went to the reception desk and they asked for my name and gave me a paper bracelet with a number on it. I was confused about the number, but soon forgot about it. After standing around for 5 minutes, the staff opened the doors and there I saw what looked like a small auditorium. We sat down quickly and the Tumblr workers offered us some cupcakes, along with other appetizers, while we waited for Thomas and other guest stars to arrive.
Matt Hogan, Thomas Sanders’ manager, gave a warm introduction to Thomas Sanders! Everyone immediately cheered and clapped as loud as they could! Thomas, himself, introduced us to some people we have seen before or who were new to us. People such as Adam Pascal from the play “Rent”, along with Seth Rudetsky, from the new musical, “Disaster”. I also noticed Nicole Visco from 'Heathers’, the musical , and lastly, Jacob Fjeldheim, who was in some of Thomas’ vines in the past. Right away, Thomas and the other guest introduced us to songs that they were going to sing, especially, my favorite one. “Freeze Your Brain”, sung by the badass JD, in Heathers. After singing a couple of songs, it was time to meet and greet Thomas Sanders. Matt Hogan then explained that the numbers on our bracelets, are in the order in which we meet Thomas. They were only numbered 1-5, meaning, each group would meet Thomas, and when that group was finished, the next group would come up. Obviously, I was in the last group, group number 5.
After the four groups were done, Matt said we had to speed things up, because time was running short, and right away said for group number 5 to hurry and meet Thomas. I immediately popped up out of my seat and got on line, waiting to see Thomas. When it was my turn, again my heart was beating fast. “You look familiar”, Thomas said after he hugged me. “My name is Tara. We met at StreamCon”, I replied. “Oh! Yes!”, he said! He quickly remembered me, and smiled from ear to ear. “You’re always constantly tweeting me”, Thomas said. Right away, I felt embarrassed. Thoughts were running through my mind! “I’m in trouble”, “Does he not like it when I constantly tweet him?”, “Will he get angry with me?”. All I can do is smile and get a picture with him, along with one last hug. After the group meets were over, Thomas came by and wanted to take one big picture with all of us! He sat right in front of me and gave his phone to one of the workers for the big picture! After the picture, I realized I gave such a weird smile! Lol
After coming back from Tumblr HQ, I immediately went on Twitter and apologized to Thomas for the constant tweets. He replied to me that I should never be sorry and that he always appreciates my tweets! This is why I love him. For someone to be so true and understanding, and shows their true positive colors, always leaves me breathless. Ever since then, I no longer felt like a fan to Thomas. More like, his friend.
Four months later, Thomas announced that he was going on tour! Right away I started screaming!! Can this guy get any more creative? The moment he said that on his Vine, I immediately bought myself a VIP ticket. The name of Thomas tour, was Ultimate Storytime! It’s actually a musical about appreciating one’s self, and going past your limits, doing what you please and what feels right. Thomas was also working along with people I knew @leothegiant@originalshortdude@nicolemlvisco (Leo, Nicole, and Terrence) and a new actress named @jayisjo Jay Harper! Even though the tour started in early August, I had to wait until the 26th, because that was the only time he was coming to New York, to a place called the Highline Ballroom.
During that time, I looking for gifts to buy Thomas , because he deserves it. I bought a Steven Universe keychain with the character’s weapons on them, a large Harry Potter Hufflepuff keychain, a small Harry Potter Hufflepuff pin, and lastly, a Mickey Mouse shirt with headphones around Mickey’s neck. I also customized two greeting cards, one for Thomas, and one for the cast members! During the tour, I saw that people were giving Thomas a lot of flower crowns, and Leo himself wanted one too! My good friend Tunisia ( @willygurl68 ), reached out to me via Snapchat, and asked if I could get a flower crown for Leo and the rest of the cast, and I said yes!! This happened a week before I could meet Thomas and the crew. I immediately went online and bought nine flower crowns that came in a pack. A snapped a picture for Tunisia to see and she was excited!!
Also, I came across Tumblr, and Cara ( @hellyeahthomassanders ) asked if anyone can get her the Ultimate Storytime shirt and sweater. I immediately replied and told her I can get them! Cara was so thankful!! The day before the musical, Tunisia told me to give those flower crowns to Thomas, Leo, Nicole, Terrence, Jay, Matt, Aaron, Nikki, and Jonah. Joan was traveling with the gang, but had a family emergency, and returned home quickly. 😕 The day has finally come for me to attend ULTIMATE STORYTIME!!!! I was one of the very few waiting in line! As always, in New York, there is always a delay! The VIP members were supposed to be in first by 6:30 pm, but we didn’t get in until 7:10 pm! 😩
As soon as I got in, Leo knew me right away, and this was my first time meeting him! To me, he looked like he was 7 feet tall, because I myself, am so short 😂! After he put the VIP lanyard around my neck, we hugged and I gave him his flower crown! He was sooooo excited!! Then I went to Terrence, who gave me the Ultimate Storytime poster. We gave each other teddy hugs, and I also gave him, his flower crown! He wasn’t expecting for someone to give something to him! Lol! Before Thomas, Jay Harper was there! I was excited to meet her in person, and she too, loved the flower crown I gave her! She was very happy and thankful! Then I was standing in line waiting for Thomas! Again, my mouth was completely dry, and I was extremely nervous, but happy and giddy altogether! I was next to meet him!
Before I could put my bag down, Thomas shouted, “TARA!!!”, with a lovely wide grind on his face! He hugged me so hard, I thought I was going to pop! 😂 I showed him the gifts I got for him, along with the flower crowns, and told him that Tunisia came up with the flower crown idea, and told him don’t forget to thank her! He was also in love with the Mickey Mouse shirt I gave him, along with his cards. We spent about 2 minutes having a good conversation, and just laughing our heads off! He even remembered that birthday video I made for him! I couldn’t help but blush! Before it was time to move on, Thomas gave me one last hug as Corey, the Pro Photographer 😎, took a picture of us! To be honest, the last hug was so hard that my chest kinda hurt! 😂! Remember, when someone gives you strong hugs like that, those are hugs of love and friendship!!
After 30 minutes past, along with the meet and greets, the show started. I don’t want to give away any detail, the show was amazing!! On scale of 1 to 10, I give this show a 12!!! After the show was over, I saw that my phone was dying! I really wanted to get one selfie of the whole cast, but I couldn’t! But hey, look on the bright side! I had a good night!! Oh!! That’s right!! I also bought Cara her shirts, and sent them out the following day! I even bought myself a Pizza shirt! Cara was so happy to get those shirts, she even sent me a Snap of her wearing them via Snapchat!! I even told Tunisia, that everyone loved the flower crowns!!
Because of Thomas, I was able to make new friends! Cara, Tunisia, Ashley, and more! I have always known that kind hearted people in the world did such positive, happy things! But Thomas, he takes happiness to a whole new level. He expanded his happiness across the world, better than I could! He has helped so many people come out of their shells! Reminds me of when I was a theater major in high school, and because of theater, I found my true self! Although I may not be an actress, I have theater to thank, to help me out of my cocoon and become a butterfly! That is exactly what Thomas did with everyone around him! He helped them become beautiful butterflies!
Well, this story has gone on long enough. I just want to say, thank you Thomas, for all your hard work. Never stop! Keep going past your limits! Show the world why you are here! I thank God everyday that someone like you came to this beautiful world! This may sound like a farewell letter, but it isn’t! Lol! I thank you once again! My beloved friend, forever and always! @thatsthat24