You can be on Entrepreneur’s cover!

How Hank Levine Went Viral After a Chipotle Burrito Giveaway Caused Him to Receive Hundreds of Texts The good-spirited lawyer from Maryland turned around and used the exposure to do something good.

By Lindsay Friedman

entrepreneur daily

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Dorry Levine

Hank Levine didn't have a good reason to develop a presence on the Internet. But then he became a viral sensation, beating out Kim Kardashian on Facebook for 15 minutes. The middle-aged lawyer from Bethesda, Md., didn't even need to take his shirt off (in all fairness, the Internet might not have wanted him too).

It all changed for Levine early February, when a Chipotle burrito giveaway led to his phone blowing up with hundreds of texts with the word "raincheck" after people in his area added an extra number to the promotional code 888-222.

Related: People Expecting a Free Chipotle Burrito Instead Accidently Texted a Random Lawyer

He could have been angry. He could have ignored the texts. Levine didn't do either. He actually took the time to respond to the texts, explaining to people they had the wrong number.

"I learned a lot about people," Levine told Entrepreneur a month removed from the event.

Throughout the cycle, Levine received hundreds of texts. Weeks later, he still gets the occasional message or two. Thankfully, he didn't end up with a huge phone bill, nor did he have to change his number.

He didn't make any longtime friends, but he did have a few conversations. At first, Levine tried to help by pointing out the problem. Once the news got out, the nature of the incoming messages developed a wide range, from sympathizers, drunk 20-somethings and even a few angered individuals snubbed and burrito-less.

A couple of women hit on him, others yelled at him, some just asked him to tell Chipotle to make its guacamole free.

"That's extremely important," he says. "People really hate paying extra for guac."

Though Levine's certainly no luddite, he's not exactly the most tech savvy (he only had a LinkedIn page prior to the text bomb). He doesn't live for likes or text constantly. For example, his daughter-in-law Dorry Levine had to teach him how to take a screenshot after he called to tell her about the slew of texts blowing up his phone. She also helped him create a Twitter page.

Related: Why Chipotle Is Closed for Lunch Today

Ironically, Dorry, a digital-media strategist at ReThink Media, had just tweeted about Chipotle's promotion that morning, praising the company for making a positive spin on a rough situation as it closed stores nationwide to address a series of E. coli outbreaks affecting more than 100 people in locations across the country.

"I found [the confusion] absolutely hilarious," she says.

It doesn't take a psychic to figure out what Dorry did next:

Dorry also wrote a Linkedin post about the experience. Still, she didn't expect the story to go viral in a matter of days. It was so popular, not only was it featured on Entrepreneur, but also Mashable, Eater and a myriad of national publications as well as The Today Show.

An outgoing guy with a good sense of humor, Hank figures the experience was his "15 minutes of fame."

The people who mistakenly texted Hank Levine never got their burritos, but the lawyer did receive 25 gift cards from Chipotle after he and his good attitude did the beleaguered burrito chain a considerable solid in free press coverage and public relations.

Rather than reap the benefits himself, he's giving out the cards to the worthy (or folks that like Chipotle more than he does).

But the biggest victory for Levine through all this is that Chipotle has agreed to serve as a sponsor for the Fiesta 5K run, an event run by The Packard Center at Johns Hopkins each year, where Levine serves on the board.

Related: How to Take Over the Internet and Become a Social-Media Celebrity

"It's a great example of what good can come out of the Internet," he says.

It's not yet determined what exactly the sponsorship would entail, but it looks like Levine's not the only one to end up with a burrito or two and the possibility of coining a new hashtag: #NoExtraforGuac.

Lindsay Friedman

Staff writer. Frequently covers franchise news and food trends.

Lindsay Friedman is a staff writer at Entrepreneur.com.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

Editor's Pick

Side Hustle

He Took His Side Hustle Full-Time After Being Laid Off From Meta in 2023 — Now He Earns About $200,000 a Year: 'Sweet, Sweet Irony'

When Scott Goodfriend moved from Los Angeles to New York City, he became "obsessed" with the city's culinary offerings — and saw a business opportunity.

Marketing

I Got Over 225,000 Views in Just 3 Months With Short-Form Video — Here's Why It's the New Era of Marketing

Thanks to our new short-form video content strategy, we've amassed over 225,000 video views in just three months. Learn how to increase brand awareness through short-form video content.

Branding

94% of Customers Say a Bad Review Made Them Avoid Buying From a Brand. Try These 4 Techniques to Protect Your Brand Reputation.

Maintaining a good reputation is key for any business today. With so many people's lives and shopping happening online, what is said about a company on the internet can greatly influence its success.

Personal Finance

How to Get a Lifetime of Investing Experience in Only One Year

Plus, how day traders can learn a lesson from pilots.

Productivity

6 Habits That Help Successful People Maximize Their Time

There aren't enough hours in the day, but these tips will make them feel slightly more productive.

Growing a Business

Looking to Achieve Your Goals But Don't Know Where to Start? Try These Proven Goal-Setting Strategies.

Find a more effective way of creating – and achieving – your goals. Get clear on your vision, make your plan, take action, reassess and then revise.