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Guess What Happened To The Chain-Smoking 2-Year-Old

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Back in 2010, a story that came out of Indonesia caught the attention of the rest of the world. 2-year old Aldi Rizal went viral after a video of him enjoying a ride-on toy while smoking cigarettes caused a stir on an international scale. Ever wondered what is Rizal up to seven years later?

Rizal went to rehab

Because the international spectacle caused quite an embarrassment to the Indonesian government, they decided to bring the chain-smoking tot in a rehab center. Rizal was taken from his remote village home in Sumatra and sent to a facility in the country’s capital Jakarta, where he took part in two weeks of “play therapy sessions” that forced him to focus on being a normal child.

After going through therapy, Aldi’s diversion was toys and lots of food. “When Aldi first quit smoking he would demand a lot of toys,” his mother said. “He would bang his head on the wall if he couldn’t get what he wanted. That’s why I get him cigarettes in the first place—because of his temper and his crying. Now I don’t give him cigarettes, but he eats a lot. With so many people living in the house, it’s hard to stop him from getting food.” At the height of his new habit, Rizal was drinking three full cans of condensed milk a day as part of a calorific diet.

He became a local celebrity

After becoming viral, the international attention that Rizal received made him a local celebrity in his village, as Mara Schiavocampo found out when she visited his home on assignment for the Huffington Post. “Getting there wasn’t easy: 36-hour trip from New York to Jakarta, 1-hour flight to Sumatra, and four hours in the car, driving through rubber tree plantations. He became a local celebrity—as he walked through the stalls we heard lots of people calling his name, ‘Aldi, Aldi.’ A crowd gathered around him when he stopped to eat. But Aldi’s famous for all the wrong reasons.”

He’s now a top student and free of his vice

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Four years later, Rizal’s weight is under control and he is reportedly on his way to completing fourth grade after excelling in his studies. The bubbly 9-year-old now has lots of friends and is barely recognizable as that tubby kid puffing away on his ride-on toy without a care in the world. 🌈

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