ST. LOUIS - He became America's favorite undecided voter and even today, he still can't go places without being recognized.
"If I'm out in public, at least once a day someone will yell 'Ken Bone' and I'll turn around and wave and we'll take a picture, but it's not nearly as nuts as it used to be,” Bone said at his home in Belleville.
He became an overnight celebrity after wearing a red IZOD sweater and asking a question at the presidential debate at Washington University last October.
"I was just a regular guy and I tried to remain a regular guy as I was getting swarmed by people. I think that's what people really liked."
There's been a lot of good and some bad with his new fame. Bone said he made about $155,000 from endorsement deals, money he used to pay off debt. All but one endorsement deal remains.
"I paid off a lot of our rotating debt, we don't have credit cards anymore and a car payment anymore...it was great, it takes a lot of the stress out, knocking out all the monthly payments, but I still have to go to work every day."
Bone said he was able to help others with his newfound fame and endorsement deals. He said he donated ten percent of his earnings to charity and required companies he did business with to match his donations. He even sold the famous red sweater back to IZOD.
He said, "IZOD bought it back from me for $10,000."
He said that money went to Greater St. Louis Honor Flight, to fly military veterans to Washington D.C. to visit the war memorials.
Bone said the worst part of the fame were death threats. He said he received dozens last fall. He believes the callers were likely kids trying to pull a prank. He said four times police were called to his home, including during game seven of last year's World Series.
"While the rest of Cardinal Nation was terrified the Cubs were going to win, my wife and I were standing out front of our house in the rain waiting for the police to escort our son out in the yard because they had to sweep the house for bombs," he said.
Despite the frightening situations, Bone looks back fondly at his fifteen minutes of fame.
"Overall it was a really good thing, not only to raise money for charities but a lot of fun doing it. I got to travel all over and meet a lot of young people and get them interested in politics," Bone said.
He plans on writing a book about his overnight popularity. When asked about the title of the book he jokingly said, "My Life as a Meme."
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