The Internet at the Speed of Thought

15 Real Life People Behind Your Favorite Internet Memes

at1:09 pm | By

Skateboarding Professor

internet memes skateboarding professor

Source: Twitter @itsjessie

Tom Winter was a religious studies and classics professor at the University of Nebraska who decided one day that he wasn’t going to pay to park his car while at work, and in 1993, he began his daily commute on skateboard.

Nearly 20 years later, a student took a picture of him skateboarding through campus on their cell phone, and by the time it got posted to Reddit in 2012, it was on its way to becoming a viral meme. Winter retired in 2013 after over 40 years of work.


internet memes ermahgerd 1

Source: Twitter @PelicanBomb

“I just can’t believe this was my 15 minutes of fame,” said Maggie Goldenberger, who first appeared as an internet meme back in 2012, holding several copies of “Gersberms.” The picture, taken in jest when Maggie was still only about 11, was discovered by Redditor xWavy, who found the picture randomly and posted it, calling her look “just a book owner’s smile.” Maggie was 23 at the time, and she received a surprising phone call from a friend letting her know that her image was suddenly everywhere on the internet.

Maggie currently works as a nurse in Phoenix, and she says she has to fake laugh whenever people insist on showing her more memes of herself.

Disaster Girl

internet memes disaster girl

Source: Twitter @sillymemesgifs/ Flickr @Dave Roth

During a local firefighter training exercise in 2004, Dave Roth took an innocent picture of his daughter Zoe. Later realizing the humorous juxtaposition between the girl’s grin and the fire in the background, Roth uploaded the photo in 2007, and it was published in JPG Magazine in 2008. From there, Zoe’s image quickly spread around the internet, becoming the Disaster Girl meme we know and love.

You’d better watch out, Zoe just got her license last summer.