Ryan McKenna stands to the left of Justin Timberlake, center, while the pop star performs at Super Bowl 52. (Christopher Polk/Getty Images)
For many viewers of the Super Bowl halftime show, Justin Timberlake’s performance ended on an amusingly distracting note. After going into the crowd at Minneapolis’s U.S. Bank Stadium, he wound up taking a selfie with a kid who then seemed entirely unsure of what to do with himself.
The boy eventually appeared to do what some observers found depressingly predictable — stare at his phone instead of reveling in the once-in-a-lifetime moment. To hear 13-year-old Ryan McKenna tell it, though, he was still in something of a state of disbelief.
“It was already crazy to be at the Super Bowl in the first place,” McKenna told the St. Paul Pioneer Press. “Then all of a sudden I’m up on the jumbotron and everyone is talking about me. I can’t believe it.”
McKenna, a Massachusetts native, was quickly booked for an appearance on “Good Morning America,” which in turn, was happy to blast his selfies to the Internet.
McKenna told the Pioneer Press that he had been taking video of Timberlake, but when the pop star took a position next to him, he quickly began pulling up the camera app on his iPhone. “I just thought to myself, ‘I’ll never get this opportunity again in my whole life,’” McKenna said. “I just went for it.”
A few of the takes expressed wry amusement — or was it outright irritation? — at the way the young man did not seem prepared to ignore his phone and give his attention to the Super Bowl performer who had just given him such a precious moment. Kids these days, right?
Kid next to Timberlake didn’t know what to do. Snapchat? Take a selfie? Or participate in real life? #PepsiHalftime
McKenna wasn’t the only one who was suddenly hearing from all his friends — his father had the same experience, albeit not while in the spotlight of the nation’s most-watched TV show. “My phone started blowing up,” John McKenna said. “It died, like, instantly after it happened. We had friends from all over reaching out. I couldn’t believe it.”