HOLLYWOOD, Fla. - The University of Alabama fan whose excitement about receiving tickets to the BCS Championship game went viral on YouTube arrived in South Florida ahead of Monday night's game. The video of Don Buckhannan learning he was going to the game has been watched more than nine million times.
Buckhannan thought his son, Daniel, had given him a hat for Christmas, but inside he found tickets to the championship game against Notre Dame.
On Sunday, he told Local 10's Terrell Forney he had no idea of the gift his son had bought him. He said he had thought about trying to get tickets to the game, but didn't think it would be possible.
This year is the third time in the last four years the Crimson Tide are in the championship game. The Buckhannans have not been able to get tickets to any of those games, until now.
"We've never even been to a Bowl Game, so when I saw the tickets inside the hat, it was not so much the ticket itself, but I knew what a hard item that is, especially with 'Bama and Notre Dame and I knew immediately what this young man did for his dad," Buckhannan said Sunday night at a rally for the University of Alabama at the Seminole Hard Rock Casino in Hollywood.
While the gift from his son was a surprise, his family was not surprised by Buckhannan's reaction.
"The reason he was videoing it was because he knew I'd cry, Mom knew I'd cry, everyone knew I'd cry!" Buckhannan said. "But they didn't really that I would make that big ugly face, but it got me emotionally, so quick."
Weeks later, Buckhannan says watching the video still makes him cry. "It still gets to me emotionally! Not as bad as it did that day, but still it brings a big smile to my face because I go back and remember how happy I was that day."
The Buckhannan men arrived in Miami on Sunday afternoon. They drove from the elder Buckhannan's home in Anniston, AL.
Amid the greetings of "Roll Tide," people who recognized Buckhannan from the video came over to shake his hand before the rally began.
"When my boys saw that they cried," one fellow Crimson Tide fan told Buckhannan. "It was emotional."
"That's what it's all about!" Buckhannan responded. "Family and having a good time!"
When asked how long it took him to recover from the shock, Buckhannan said that after two weeks, he still can't believe he's going to the game.
"I told someone a little while ago, don't bump me, don't pinch me, I'm still not ready to wake up!"
Copyright 2013 by Local10.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.