An ordinary noodle puller in Chengdu was elevated to superstardom last month after a video went viral of him showing off his spirited dancing moves while he worked.
While originally 31-year-old Tian Bo had said that he planned to stay on working at the small noodle stand where he had been “discovered,” eventually his head simply grew too big for the humble little shop. Just 20 days after becoming a viral sensation, Tian quit his job after talks with his boss broke down.
Tian’s former employer surnamed You told reporters that Tian had asked for a substantial raise. You agreed to give Tian 9,000 to 10,000 RMB a month, a significant increase from the original 3,000 RMB a month he had been making, if he would sign a contract. But Tian instead demanded 150,000 RMB a year. Unwilling to pay that much, the boss let his star worker walk, saying that the fame had gone straight to Tian’s head.
“Once he became a viral star, he got an inflated opinion of himself. He was not the noodle master that he once was,” You sighed.
After his dancing videos went viral on the Chinese internet, Tian began to receive numerous offers for media interviews and business arrangements, not to mention photos requests from fans. He got a job as an internet host where he accumulated half a million followers and could receive more money in the form of online gifts than he made at the shop.
You’s wife said that all of this attention made Tian believe that he was a really big star. He began coming into work an hour late, and asked for four or five days off from work each month, rather than the usual two days. For his part, Tian admits that the fame had affected his work. He said that while before he pulled about half of the shop’s noodles, afterwards it was down to only a quarter.
It’s not clear what the future holds for Tian. His former employer says that he doesn’t want him back, noting that really he was the one responsible for Tian’s overnight fame because he had recorded the viral video and posted it online. “If I had not shot the video, would he have become a star?” You asks.
Meanwhile, business continues as usual on the Chengdu food street with the shops now full of young “Tian Bo wannabees” dancing and prancing around, hoping for their big break.
Follow Shanghaiist on WeChat