Benton girl becomes Internet sensation with honest response

Before her family sat down to eat their Thanksgiving meal, Isabella Jernigan’s family ended their blessing with “because at least they tried.”

“She kind of got angry with us, but I thought it was funny,” Christin Thompson, Isabella’s mom, said on Saturday.

In the Thanksgiving edition of the Saline Courier, in which numerous school children and officials were asked “What are you thankful for?”, Isabella responded with “I’m thankful for all the dead people because at least they tried.”

It has now become something of an Internet sensation as numerous websites including Gawker, Starcasm and even Yahoo have run her photo and response.

Her name – even though it was initially spelled incorrectly – is one of the top searches on Twitter with many praising the 8-year-old for her brutal honesty.

“I don’t understand why it went so viral,” Thompson said. “But she’s gloating about it. She’s happy about it.”
Isabella said she is glad her answer has brought so many smiles to people’s faces.

“It was a shock, but I knew what she meant,” Thompson said.

Isabella, who is a second-grader at Howard Perrin Elementary, said she was trying to refer to the men and women who served their country and have since passed.

“She is not afraid to speak her mind, but sometimes she doesn’t word it correctly and it comes out funny,” Thompson said.

Thompson’s sister, Rebecca White, said Bella is always such a delight to be around.

“She is a hoot,” White said. “Bella is extremely bright and one of the kindest-hearted children I have ever met.
“I understood where her heart was with her answer.”

Thompson said the rest of the family’s initial reaction was shock as well.

“They were all thinking, ‘What the heck was she thinking?’” Thompson said. “But they understood what she meant.

“We all laughed. We couldn’t stop laughing.”

Initially, Thompson thought her daughter was referring to the TV show, “The Walking Dead,” which is Thompson’s favorite program.

“We all got a good laugh and many people across the United States got a good chuckle because of what she said,” White said.

“She’s very shy and kind of bashful … I don’t think she is grasping the magnitude of the quote or the impression it has made.”

“She doesn’t understand it really,” Thompson said. “Her picture is on Google and she has received multiple text messages about it, but she doesn’t understand how big it is.

“I’m trying to not let it go to her head.”