If you listen to Spanish language radio, you know who the Kendall Toyota kid is. That’s because Michael Gonzalez has been doing spots for Kendall Toyota since before he could read the text for the ads.
“Papí! Quiero un ToYotaaaaa,” he would croon in his little baby voice with a thick Argentine accent that turns the “Y” into a soupy “jeeee” sound.
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As is the case with many a child star, Michael Gonzalez’s life has taken a somewhat dark turn. According to the Miami Herald, Gonzalez may have been involved in a drug deal gone wrong that ended in the death of his friend. There’s nothing funny about that, obviously. The 17-year-old has not been charged in the case yet, and his family is cooperating with authorities.
If you watched and heard Michael Gonzalez grow up before your eyes on bus benches, radio spots and TV ads, this is the bit of a shock. His father, Claudio Gonzalez, worked for the company that did marketing and advertisting for Kendall Toyota and West Kendall Toyota, and launched the blond moptop into local stardom by featuring him in campaigns.
For those of you who are not familiar with the iconic rubio of the Kendall Toyota ads, here are highlights from his campaigns throughout the years as the young pitch man for Kendall Toyota.
This touching Mother’s Day ad.
Here’s his face on the side of a promotional truck.
Ignore the foul language of this mean Redditor.
Kendall Toyota’s Christmas spot.
They went big for this one. They hired an Obama impersonator.
This ad made a lot of people mad.
Needless to say, Michael is a something of a local celebrity.
I JUST MET THE KENDALL TOYOTA KID AND HIS DAD LMAO pic.twitter.com/eC3g9aBy0I
— aixa (@aixa2326) June 27, 2016
At the Juan Luis Guerra show. More excited to be sitting near the Kendall Toyota kid.
— South Florida Ford (@soflaford) September 7, 2011
Omg this little kid from the kendall toyota commercial never grows up ..
— A. (@BadgyalA_) April 22, 2013
But with fame, comes bullies.
New insult: "you are more annoying than the little Argentinian kid of the Kendall Toyota's TV Ad"
— Victor Mora Petit (@vmorapetit) September 12, 2012
RT @rudis320 The only time I approve of the little Argentinian Kendall Toyota kid would be if he beats up the little Ticket Clinic kid.
— Sophie G⭐️ (@sofifi323) August 22, 2012
I feel bad for that kid from Kendall Toyota.. His dad must have him traumatized with all those commercials
— l a y a l i (@sxbbar) October 8, 2013