MrBeast flies blimp over Daytona 500 honoring 'Karl's Mom' – Daytona Beach News-Journal

It’s not unusual to see the Goodyear Blimp at the Daytona 500. It’s something of a tradition. But if you were at the race this year, you might have spotted a different blimp circling overhead, with a different, inexplicable message:
“I ❤ KARL’s MOM.”
Who is Karl? Who is his mom? And who loves her? While many of his fans suspected, it wasn’t revealed until Saturday, April 1, that this was yet another over-the-top stunt from YouTube superstar and beloved internet phenomenon Jimmy Donaldson, 24, known as “MrBeast” to over 140 million subscribers.
MrBeast’s madcap videos range from Donaldson doing ridiculous things; Donaldson rewarding other people with extravagant prizes for doing ridiculous things; Donaldson just handing people stacks of cash, cars or even houses; Donaldson performing expansive philanthropic acts (such as paying for cataract surgery for 1,000 blind people after he saw a talk by a Jacksonville doctor); or Donaldson and his friends showing everyone the kinds of outlandish, over-the-top luxuries that rich people enjoy. In this case, it was a demonstration of different VIP treatments in the air in a video titled “$1 vs. $500,000 Plane Ticket!
By Sunday evening, the video had been viewed nearly 42 million times.
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One dollar got him a ride in a rickety ultralight plane behind a cackling pilot named Doug.
For $1,000 he got a first-class plane ticket, and he and his friends showed off the meals, goodie bags, and seats that reclined into sort-of beds.
For $10,000 they moved to an Emirates A380 with what appeared to be individual luxury cubicles with giant TVs and built-in drink fridges, endless gourmet food, a private lounge, and a bathroom with a shower. (Wifi was still an extra 20 bucks, though.) $25,000 on Singapore Airlines, what Donaldson said was the world’s most expensive commercial flight, got his crew private rooms upstairs in the plane with queen-size beds, more TVs than anyone could usefully need, and a personal attendant.
“Would you pay this kind of money for a single flight?” Donaldson asked his buddies and on-camera helpers Karl Jacobs, Nolan Hansen, Chandler Hallow, Karl Jacobs, and Chris Tyson.
“Buy a car instead,” Jacobs said.
After reveling in a private plane ($100,000, multiple rooms, and a private bedroom) Donaldson bought a blimp for $300,000. Or, rather, he rented one from Orlando-based Lightship Group, according to photographer Colin Daily who spotted it at DeLand Municipal Airport, and paid to have it wrapped with a message honoring his friend Karl’s mother because why not.
“No, he hearts your mom,” Tyson tells Jacobs in the video. “He doesn’t love your mom, that’d be weird.”
“No, I love her,” Donaldson assured them, and he and Jacobs climbed aboard to slowly fly to their next destination. Daytona Beach.
“Oh, and I forgot to mention,” Donaldson said. “We’re flying this blimp over 150,000 people at the world’s largest race car event, and Karl has no idea.”
On the video, fans roared as the blimp sailed sedately around the track, with multiple cheers for Karl’s mom.
For $500,000 they rented the “most expensive private jet on the planet,” although they didn’t mention which one that was. This got them (and some lucky YouTube subscribers chosen at random) multiple rooms and master suite bedrooms to jump around in, gold-plated sinks, a theater, a massage room with a masseuse, million-dollar artwork, and all the gourmet food they wanted at any time.
Unbeknownst to the fans, who had happily followed MrBeast onto the plane with no idea where they were going, they flew to Florida again where Donaldson treated them all to an all-expenses-paid two-day trip to Disney World.
After talking to a crewmember about the usual clientele (business people), Donaldson asked how his “dumb friends” compared.
“Pretty dumb, I guess I’d say,” the man said as one of MrBeast’s crew rolled past them on the floor.
This wasn’t MrBeast’s first try at inflatable air traffic. What he originally had in mind is unknown, but in January he had apparently planned something else big with a blimp that had to be abruptly postponed because someone else took precedence: President Joe Biden.
“I planned a video around a blimp and it’s locked up right now because Joe Biden flew into the airport,” Donaldson tweeted at the time. “we had it at and the secret service grounded everything and now I don’t have my blimp when I need it. Why life so hard.”
For a guy who can drop millions on a video to photobomb the Daytona 500, life seems pretty good.
Jimmy Donaldson started making silly videos in his bedroom, but after taking his first sponsorship offer and shooting himself just handing it to a homeless man he found his niche. Over the years MrBeast has rebuilt homes for Kentucky tornado survivors and given $20,000 to randomly selected people in need. He also regularly rewards people with money, cars, planes, houses and even an island with “last to leave the circle” or “last one to stop touching it” contests, buys out entire stores to give away, and opens up pop-up businesses like banks giving out free money, restaurants giving away free food or used car lots giving away cars.
He also still makes silly videos, just on a much larger scale. In one of his most popular videos he re-enacted the hyperviolent Netflix show “Squid Game” in real life (without the fatal eliminations). He has put himself in solitary confinement for 50 hours, hired a real assassin to “kill” him, spent 50 hours buried alive, drove through the same drive-thru 1,000 times and many, many more.
MrBeast BurgerCharitable YouTube star MrBeast is selling food out of a Knoxville ghost kitchen
While some of his stunts involve actual businesses — Donaldson has started a burger chain and a candy bar company (with a barely-safe-for-work Super Bowl commercial) — he also strives to make a difference in the world. He has worked with TeamSeas to clean beaches, started a project to plant 20 million trees, and helped people in need around the world, although he has gotten pushback on whether he’s doing good if he gets money-making videos out of it.
Is it bad if it makes a difference?A YouTuber cured 1,000 blind people for a video. But is it performative altruism?
As of March 2023, MrBeast is the #1 individual YouTube channel in the world, and the fourth highest overall.
C. A. Bridges is a Digital Producer for the USA TODAY Network, working with multiple newsrooms across Florida. Local journalists work hard to keep you informed about the things you care about, and you can support them by subscribing to your local news organizationRead more articles by Chris here and follow him on Twitter at @cabridges


About the author

William Johnson

William Johnson

William J. has a degree in Computer Graphics and is passionate about virtual and augmented reality. He explores the latest in VR and AR technologies, from gaming to industrial applications.