A Guy, A Longboard, A Jug of Juice, and Fleetwood Mac
Nathan Apodaca’s viral video entered our collective conscience when we needed it most.
Imagine you’re on your way to work and your car sputters to a stop on the side of the road a mile away from your workplace. With fifteen minutes left to clock in on time, you’d hardly think that it’s the time to make a TikTok video — but this is what sets Nathan Apodaca apart.
When Apodaca found himself in this predicament, he grabbed his longboard and jug of juice out of his car and started riding the mile left he had to reach the potato factory where he works as a laborer. Filming part of his ride has since become a life-changing decision.
The TikTok video of him cruising down an Idaho highway on his longboard to the Fleetwood Mac song “Dreams” went viral in a matter of hours. His serene joy is infectious as he glides down the road with occasional grins. He mouths words to the song and takes long gulps from his jug of Ocean Spray Cran-Raspberry juice.
I remember when I first came across Apodaca’s video on Facebook. The content is so inconspicuous that I almost scrolled right past it but as it started playing I couldn’t take my eyes away. I was grinning from ear to ear as I watched it.
There was something so pure and unadulterated about the way he captured a genuine moment in his life. The context of that moment in time just makes the video even more enjoyable. The kind of peace and tranquility he can radiate in what anyone else would find an unbearably stressful situation is, quite simply, amazing.
In an internet riddled with content that demands your attention, your money, your support, it was refreshing to see someone who wanted to do nothing else but share a piece of happiness. From hearing about Apodaca’s humble roots, it’s clear that he’s not a man who demands much from the world.
He bags and stacks potatoes for a living. He had a short stint fighting wildfires as part of a “camp crew.” He lives in an RV without running water. And, as we all know, he was driving an unreliable car. TikTok banned his first account after building up 132,000 followers, but in his carefree and upbeat nature, he simply made a new one which now boasts millions.
The internet is rallying around his video with descriptions that liken it to “whole vibe” which is an apt choice of words.
I‘ve surmised that the reason Apodaca’s video resonates so much with so many people is because we long to be as unbothered as he is, especially during a time of increasing chaos. This level of undisturbed harmony frankly feels unachievable for a lot of us who have been under increasing amounts of stress in the last year.
It seems like we wake up every morning to news that outrages us, saddens us, or quite possibly both. Our digital culture is a culture of outrage. It’s exhausting us and we’re left to face it while dealing with personal problems of our own. The effect is overwhelming, so much so that a man simply enjoying his life on a longboard, taking pleasure in Fleetwood Mac and a jug of juice is enough to remind us of what life is truly supposed to be about: taking pleasure in the small things.
Apodaca seems not to have forgotten this even with the prospect of viral internet fame. He’s reached a level of notoriety that warrants a manager in Los Angeles fielding media requests for him but he’s still keeping what’s truly important at the forefront of his mind.
He, first and foremost, wants to give his mother $5,000 and wants to buy his father a used truck he’s had his eye on. He states:
“The biggest thing to me is being able to show my mom and my dad that I love them. That’s what you’re supposed to do, right?… Why sit there and guard this money when I can make my family smile?”
As for himself, he just wants to get caught up on the bills, a car that won’t die on him, and a place to call his own. It seems those dreams will soon become a reality.
It’s hard to say what’s in Apodaca’s future as a content creator. He’s teased ideas about doing a commercial for Ocean Spray (I would love to see that). Mick Fleetwood himself has acknowledged Apodaca with a recreation of his viral video.
Whatever is in Apodaca’s future, the most important thing he has going is his positive approach to life and I’m so very glad that he’s been rewarded for reminding us what’s truly important.