When college student Jill Young set out to earn her dad more Instagram followers, she had no idea how successful she'd be. "All I Want For Christmas is for my Dad's hotel carpet instagram to go viral," she tweeted, linking to the account her dad, Bill, created for his work travels. Aptly titled "My Hotel Carpet," Bill's Instagram was originally meant to share unique carpets across the country with a few folks. But thanks to Jill, he's now sharing with hundreds of thousands of followers!
"He started on his photography Instagram, and then my mom had the idea for him to make a separate account," Jill told POPSUGAR of her dad's knack for eye-catching carpets. "He's actually had the account since, like, 2015 but has never really actively tried to gain followers or anything."
So, how did "My Hotel Carpet" rise from relative obscurity to overnight fame? "I thought it would be kind of a fun thing to see if I could get more people to follow it," Jill explained. "Because I think it's a great idea!" When her tweet about the account went viral, so did Bill's Instagram presence, which boasts a whopping 240K followers at press time. "Neither of us had any idea how big this would get; I think both of us are excited, and very surprised!"
"He's always supported me in my dreams . . . it means a lot to me that I can support him in some way, too — even if it's through an Instagram account."
Jill and Bill bond over more than just artistic carpet patterns, sharing a mutual love of comedy. "I love my dad's sense of humor — he makes a lot of really great 'dad jokes.' I think I get my love of comedy from him," Jill told POPSUGAR of her relationship with her dad. "He's also very smart, caring, and he's a great writer, and that inspires me."
Being able to share her dad's interests with a wider audience is especially meaningful to Jill, since he's been encouraging her to pursue her passions all her life. "He's always supported me in my dreams of being an actor, and it means a lot to me that I can support him in some way, too — even if it's through an Instagram account."
So, out of all the hotel carpet patterns that Bill has shared with his quarter-million new followers, which one is his favorite? At the moment, it's a checkered triangle and swirl design from a Marriott in Long Beach. For Jill, it's hard to choose. "I'd say my favorite right now is the one with the blue-and-red, 3D-looking swirls on it," she mused, but that's subject to change with every business trip Bill takes!
Read on to see how the entire overnight viral sensation played out, and then be sure to follow Bill's Instagram to join in on the fun.