A local video spotlighting a humorous moment between a lizard and an unsuspecting handler has gone viral and made a Johnstown family $10,000 richer.
Andrew Miller, of Pittsburgh, and his sister Ashley Robine, along with her husband Garrett, both of Johnstown, recently appeared on ABC’s “America’s Funniest Home Videos,” and walked away with the show’s top prize of $10,000.
“I’m still in shock,” Ashley Robine said. “We used to watch this – never ever thinking that one day we would be those people up there.”
The trio appeared Sunday on “America’s Funniest Home Videos”, which is celebrating its 30th season, for their video featuring Miller who is sitting down while a bearded dragon lizard crawls up his chest.
“Pick him up! Pick him up!” yells Miller in the video as the lizard makes his way up his chest and onto his arm.
“It was true fear,” said Miller during an interview at the Robine residence Tuesday evening. “I’m not ever going to live that down.”
The group said the video, which was filmed in March, came about when Andrew made a visit to Johnstown to see the couple.
“It was just a moment where (Andrew) wasn’t paying attention to anybody, he was on his phone, and that’s when Garrett got out our bearded dragon, Rico, and gently placed him on him – and that’s when the video happened,” Ashley Robine said. “Then we got Andrew’s attention and he got off the phone.”
While Andrew was admittedly hesitant to share the video online of his interaction with Rico, Ashley and Garrett were eager to show others and convinced Andrew to allow them to share the video on Facebook.
The video has since gone viral garnering nearly 15 million views, 252,000 shares and more than 56,000 “likes.”
“It went from 100 views to 500 views,” Garrett Robine said. “Once we hit 100,000 views, which was like two days, it went from 100,000 to a million overnight.”
Ashley Robine said, “We could not believe it.
“Our phones were going crazy.”
The family said they were receiving messages from people all over the world, but it was one message in particular that caught their attention.
Prior to the video going viral, Ashley Robine submitted the clip to “America’s Funniest Home Videos,” but as the video began to climb in views and gain more exposure, the Johnstown native forgot about the submission.
“I submitted it there, definitely not thinking anything of it,” Ashley Robine said. “And then they called me at work.”
The call was to let the family know that their video was a top 3 finalist and a contender for the $10,000 prize.
“It’s shocking,” Miller said. “They told us it’s a 0.1% chance of you making it on the show, and an even lesser chance of winning it. So I guess it was just a great funny family video.”
The Johnstown family made their way to California for the taping of the show in August, which was an experience filled with fun and great weather.
Ashley Robine said, “We felt like even if we didn’t win first place we already won because when are you going to be able to go on a free trip to L.A.?
“It was a really great experience.”
Now the family has to be patient and wait to see if their video will be selected as a top 3 finalist for the show’s grand prize of $100,000. If chosen, the family would once again be flown to Los Angeles for another taping in November.
The final show is expected to air on ABC in December.
“I feel like the hardest part for me was keeping it a secret for two months,” Miller said.
Miller said winning the show’s $100,000 grand prize would be a blessing, but another hard secret to keep.
Garrett Robine said, “We’re keeping our fingers crossed – toes too. It’s already been an experience, and it would be a blessing to do it again.”