A comedian has revealed his plans to reunite with a former classmate that he bullied in school so that he can make amends for stealing his lunch when they were younger.
Joe Erwin, who goes by the username @joe_erwin_comedy on TikTok, first reflected on his “terrible” childhood behavior in a video posted to the platform last month, in which he shared the thing he did as a child that he still feels “really bad” about as an adult”.
“What’s a terrible thing you did as a child that you feel really bad about as an adult? I’ll go first,” Erwin said in the video. The comedian then recounted how he used to “steal a kid’s lunch every day and then eat it right in front of him”.
According to Erwin, he and his classmate, who used to sit next to each other at lunch as they were friends, both used to order pizza every day. However, Erwin recalled how he would encourage his friend to look the other way before stealing the pizza off of his plate and putting it on his own.
“He was a little guy, and surprised, I was a fat kid. So I just thought since he was such a little guy he doesn’t get hungry like I do,” Erwin recounted.
In the video, Erwin acknowledged that his friend used to get upset by the bullying, with the comedian telling his followers: “He would look at me and say: ‘Hey man, I really don’t like when you do that.’”
However, according to Erwin, he would apologize for taking his friend’s pizza but still proceed to eat it. “I’d absolutely house that pizza right in front of him and he didn’t get to eat lunch,” he admitted.
Erwin then recalled that the bullying occurred in first grade and that his childhood friend’s name was Dylan, before asking his followers “if anyone knows a 24- to 25-year-old guy named Dylan” who went to Jinx West Elementary School in Jinx, Oklahoma.
Erwin also issued an apology directly to Dylan, with the comedian concluding the video: “Dylan, if you’re out there, I’m sorry man, and I want to take you out to the most expensive pizza place that you could think of. . I know that it’s not going to completely make it right, but I just want to say I’m sorry.”
The clip, which has been viewed more than 9.5m times, prompted a social media search for Dylan as many TikTok users revealed they were invested in the story, while many others applauded Erwin for the apology.
“The fact you’re willing to own your mistake and make amends makes me respect you,” one person commented, while another said: “This is next-level growth!”
“Okay, I’m invested, I need to know if you find him,” someone else wrote.
In a follow-up video, Erwin revealed that he found Dylan on Facebook after his best friend found their childhood yearbook.
The comedian then shared a screenshot of the message he’d sent to his former classmate, in which he identified himself and revealed that he’d posted a TikTok “about taking your pizza regularly at lunch” that had gone viral.
“And I wanted to reach out to make amends,” Erwin added in the message, along with a link to his viral video.
The message prompted a response from Dylan, who responded: “This is amazing! Haha. Of course I remember you,” before adding that he’s seen some of Erwin’s TikToks.
Dylan also revealed that he remembered the bullying, but had “no clue” it was Erwin who used to steal his lunch.
“Next time I’m in Tulsa, pizza’s on you man,” Dylan added.
In response, Erwin promised that pizza would be on him, before telling his former classmate that he wants to “see this through”.
“So yeah, hopefully he reaches out and me and him [sic] can get together,” Erwin added to his followers.
In another follow-up video, Erwin informed his followers and those invested in the story that he and Dylan “officially have a date set,” and that he and a friend planned to drive four hours from Oklahoma to Kansas City on 14 May to meet his childhood friend.
The news prompted excitement among Erwin’s followers, who revealed that they would be waiting eagerly for the next update. “Literally marking my calendar,” one person commented, while another said: “I’m very invested in this story.”
Others were appreciative of the entire saga, with someone else noting: “This is really wholesome.”
The Independent has contacted Erwin for comment.