TikTok of the Month: Savanah Pierce and Doug Kennedy photo

Doug Kennedy and Savanah Pierce at the UT vs. Alabama game on Oct. 15.

Savanah Pierce, a transfer student at UT, posted a TikTok in October that reached over 540,000 views. The video has received an approximate total of 107,700 likes and counting.

The video’s popularity is a result of the story it reveals – the unique way Pierce came into the possession of a ticket to the completely sold-out UT vs. Alabama football game on Oct. 15.

Pierce recently moved to Knoxville with her husband and is currently in her third semester at UT. Apart from studying political science, the 25-year-old is an aspiring influencer gaining a following on TikTok. She is also a manager and server at The Tomato Head in Downtown Knoxville, which is where the first part of her viral story began.

Pierce was working the morning shift at The Tomato Head and served a family of five who gave her what she labeled as “the best tip (she’s) ever gotten.”

The family told Pierce that they were headed to the game after eating. Pierce mentioned that, though she has spent about a year in Knoxville, she had never been to a UT football game before.

As she was cashing them out, the father of the family and CEO of Johnson & Galyon Construction Doug Kennedy, told Pierce that they had an extra ticket to the game. Kennedy has season tickets through his company and said that the extra one was just going to go to waste. He had been trying to find someone to use the extra ticket.

“Each week I invite someone to go with us,” Kennedy said.

To put the ticket to good use, Kennedy invited Pierce to go to the game with them.

“She just said, ‘You’re kidding,’” Kennedy said.

For reference, this game was completely sold out. In the TikTok, Pierce reminds viewers that tickets to the game were selling for thousands of dollars on certain websites.

Fortunately, Pierce’s shift ended in just enough time for her to get to the stadium right before kick-off at 3 p.m. She accepted Kennedy’s offer and joined him at the game.

Pierce’s TikTok features her speed-walking to Neyland Stadium while explaining how she obtained a free ticket. She smiles as she recalls the kind family and their willingness to give her her first Neyland experience.

Pierce and Kennedy’s seats were in section X1, row 29, so Pierce had a great view of the field. Over the course of the game, Kennedy explained to Pierce how the stadium has changed throughout the years. A UT alumnus himself, Kennedy and his company have done numerous renovations on the stadium.

In hindsight, this was one of the most monumental games Pierce could have had the opportunity to attend.

“The first quarter blew my mind. I’ve been to sports games before, but having four touchdowns in the first quarter was mind-blowing,” Pierce said.

Not only did Pierce get to see the Vols take down Alabama for the first time in 16 years, but Pierce also had her first experience with the Pride of the Southland Marching Band at half-time.

“I got to watch the band which was, like, amazing. I had no clue that they were so incredible. I’ve seen them on TV, but I had no clue they were so talented,” Pierce said.

Pierce was not able to stay until the end of the game since she had to work a second shift in the evening. Still, her video made its mark.

Kennedy was shocked when a couple of his friends contacted him to let him know about Pierce’s viral TikTok.

Pierce wrote a “thank you” letter and sent it to Kennedy’s workplace to let him know how grateful she was for his kindness. In it, she expressed to him how special it was for her to receive that kindness from a complete stranger.

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