ADDIS — Becoming the latest viral video sensation has been a surreal experience for the Parnells.
A short clip of the family's patriarch, Tad Parnell, dressed in an inflatable T. rex costume as he greets his daughter as she's getting off the school bus has garnered more than 10 million views online as of Thursday — a week after it was first posted to Megan Parnell's Facebook page.
In the clip, a mortified Madelyn Parnell, a seventh grader at Brusly Middle School, makes a dash towards her mother as her dinosaur-costumed father chases her up the driveway of their Addis home.
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Megan Parnell can be heard laughing in the background as she captured the moment on her cellphone.
She says this kind of stunt is not uncommon in their household. Her husband takes great pleasure in playing pranks on their four children, she says.
Nothing more touching than a dad greeting his child after a long day of school. Even better if he's dressed as a T-Rex and chases her good-nat…
But the popularity of the video, which was viewed about 1,500 times on her Facebook page before it was picked up by British online newspaper "The Daily Mail," has been an unexpected surprise for the family.
"I just think all of our family is in shock," Parnell says. "Some folks have been joking with us by asking us for our autographs. We didn't think anything of it when we posted it."
The video was even featured on "The Today Show" a few days after it went viral. Many online commentators were praising Tad Parnell for hilariously embarrassing his daughter.
But Parnell says her husband's spur-of-the-moment decision to dress up in the T. rex costume, which he wore for the first time on Halloween, pales in comparison to some of the other things he's done to their kids.
Parnell said her husband has dressed up in scary clown masks and hidden behind doors to deliver quick scares. One time, she says, he dumped a bucket of ice-cold water on their son while he was bathing. And when their daughter has sleepovers with her friends, after the girls have watched scary movies, Tad Parnell will creep outside his daughter's bedroom window and start making spooky noises to scare them.
"He just has to mess with them all the time," Megan says. "All of their friends think he's the coolest Dad ever."
Unfortunately, the kids haven't yet succeeded much in retaliation on their father.
"They try to get him back but they're not good yet with being sneaky and quiet," she says.