It’s part of the natural order of things that when a tire needs changing or a leaky faucet needs fixing, the first person many of us turn to for instructions is our dad. Bo Petterson is used to fielding those requests from his six children — and his millions of social media followers as well.  

The 65-year-old Washington state resident is the man behind “Dad Advice From Bo,” a platform from which he shares brief videos offering tidbits of fatherly wisdom. 

“It’s a mixture between whatever I am doing around the house or what my internet family has asked for help with,” he told Nice News. “About half or more of the time, I am already working on a project and think it would be nice to teach my kids, so I make a video for not just my kids but also my ‘internet kids.’” 

Bo’s youngest daughter, Emily, helped him start the project back in 2020. During her freshman year of college, she experienced a traumatic brain injury during a soccer game. She was in a dark place mentally and unable to work, so her therapist encouraged her to find ways, however small, to distract herself from the pain. 

“On a whim, I pressed record on my phone and said, ‘Dad, give me a piece of dad advice,’” Emily recalled. “I put the video on TikTok, which was a new platform at the time, and I figured nobody would ever see it. The next day he came back to me and said, ‘I want to make another video about how to back up a trailer.’ I thought it was so silly. How many people really need to know that?”


Apparently, a lot. Just a few days later, she opened the app to find 5,000 comments. So the pair kept making videos, Emily behind the camera and Bo in front. His advice ranges from the theoretical (“Analysis is paralysis,” he pronounces in a post cautioning against overthinking) to the practical: how to parallel park, change spark plugs, and clean a dishwasher filter. He even throws in the occasional lecture for good measure, and signs each caption with the words “Love, dad.” 

Allison Pham

We asked Bo for an exclusive nugget of advice for Nice News readers, and he came through, saying he’s been wanting to create a video about his life philosophy, “be a river.”

“If you look at a river, it is flowing no matter what obstacles are in its way,” he explained. “If a boulder falls into the river, it finds a way to go under, over, or around the boulder. It does not stop flowing just because there is a barrier. If there are heavy rains, the river will make new pathways. Life will give you many boulders and many heavy rains. Your job is to keep flowing, make new routes, and no matter what, find a way around every obstacle.”

His lessons are helpful for anyone navigating the ins and outs of adulthood, but they’re particularly meaningful to a certain subset of his audience. “I lost my dad in May,” reads a comment on one early post. “It’s nice to have a place to go for ‘dad advice,’ even if it’s not my dad.” 


Bo is keenly aware of how much his presence means to those followers, and he doesn’t take his role lightly.

“My heart breaks for anybody that has experienced that kind of loss,” he said. “I, too, have experienced that loss. I lost my own dad who was one of my best friends and I miss him every single day. I hope when people spend one minute watching my videos that they know I’m nothing special, but that I believe in them. I truly do.”

Another positive that’s come out of the experience has been the overwhelming support for Emily’s recovery, something she continues to work toward every day. After the first few videos began getting attention, Bo let viewers in on what his daughter was going through. Immediately, some wanted to know how to help, so the pair set up a Venmo account for donations. 

“My dad shared that he doesn’t know how to do social media but he was looking for answers to my illness,” Emily recounted. “People started sending $5 and $20, and before you know it, I had enough to try a new treatment. It was the type of miracle you pray for in the depth of pain or in the loneliness of a hospital bed.”

Now that the channels have grown to such a degree, Bo is able to do paid partnerships on Instagram and TikTok, and has stopped accepting donations. But he continues to post updates on Emily’s progress, and the kindness of his community of followers still reverberates for Emily. 


“I’ve seen the depths of darkness the mind and body can go to, and you realize quickly that hope comes from people,” she said. “Sometimes the people closest to you, but most of the time it’s total strangers who stop their life and choose to pour encouragement into you.”

“Sometimes I think because of the news, we have this view of humanity that is negative,” she continued, adding that her unique vantage point has made her realize how skewed that perspective can be. “I could cry thinking about how good people are and I wish the world talked about that more. That there is so much more good than bad in the world.”