Social media influencer Joshua Schaffer has recently been spotted around Chapel Hill — and he's hard to miss.
Schaffer perused around the Pit, skirted down Franklin Street and cruised down the quad — all while sporting a Mario suit, driving a go-kart and blaring songs from the Mario Kart games. Students refer to him as the "Mario Kart Man."
Schaffer runs multiple social media accounts where he has amassed a large following — most notably on TikTok where he has over 900,000 followers. Spreading joy is a large theme on both his Instagram and TikTok pages, where he shares videos of his shenanigans.
Some of Schaffer’s TikToks show him extinguishing an animated fire and throwing plushie shells at people and cars while in his go-kart.
Patrick McPode, Schaffer’s social media manager, said the two are performing the social media gag in different places across the country.
“Josh literally passed through North Carolina after he dropped me off at the airport to get a hotel,” McPode said in a message to The Daily Tar Heel after they had left UNC. “We just went to Alabama and are currently in Texas. Next stop is California.”
McPode is often seen participating in the videos, and the two often exchange gold coins — reminiscent of those used in Mario games.
Schaffer and McPode are also active on YouTube, where they post videos of their interactions with people from different cities, including in Chicago, Illinois and New York City.
On campus, numerous students encountered Schaffer and took to social media to share their experiences with him. Schaffer even made a pit stop at the Pit, letting passersby take a joyride in his go-kart.
UNC first-year Olivia Chester stumbled upon Schaffer beside Lenoir Dining Hall, where she said he threw a shell plushie at her. Chester said that observers were entertained by his actions.
“Everyone was turning to look at him and taking videos with their phones,” Chester said.
Junior Matthew Brewbaker said he witnessed Schaffer connecting with people walking on Franklin Street.
“I was waiting for a friend at Sup Dogs and I saw them, but they weren't doing much yet,” Brewbaker said. “Later, we were eating and I heard someone blasting music and we decided to investigate. They were throwing around the plushie on the street.”
Brewbaker said there were three people involved – one person in the go-kart, one person holding the plushie and another person recording what was happening.
Meg McCartney, a UNC junior, said she also encountered Schaffer while walking around on campus.
“He seemed to just be having a great time and was just hanging around the Pit letting people drive the kart,” McCartney said. “I didn’t have time to drive it, but it looked like a lot of fun.”
McCartney said she was happy her peers were getting a chance to appreciate the antics. She added she saw several fellow students posted themselves riding the kart on Snapchat.
“Overall, that dude is super cool and I love Mario Kart,” McCartney said.
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