Video: Mom Buys a Chewbacca Mask As Her Birthday Gift, Becomes Viral Sensation Overnight

September 7, 2019 Updated: September 12, 2019

Texas mom of two Candace Payne was always a lady with a great sense of humor, but when she shot a video one day, it turned her into a viral sensation literally overnight.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Candace Payne (@candacepayne) on

The fun-loving mom walked into a Kohl’s to buy herself a birthday gift. She ended up walking out of the store with a Chewbacca mask and posted a Facebook live video from her car, in hysterics; it racked up 177 million views.

“I honestly wasn’t there for the mask,” Payne later admitted in an appearance on ABC’s Good Morning America. “I was there for myself for some yoga pants, because I’m trying to work out more.”

It's the simple joys in life….

تم النشر بواسطة ‏‎Candace Payne‎‏ في الخميس، ١٩ مايو ٢٠١٦

“I ended up going to the toy section because I got discouraged about the yoga pants,” Payne continued, “and I thought, ‘Maybe not today. But I can get a toy for my kids!'”

Payne bumped into a box labeled “Star Wars,” and her interest was piqued. It was a moving, talking, groaning Chewbacca mask, and the adventurous mom knew her shopping spree had just taken a whimsical turn.

تم النشر بواسطة ‏‎Candace Payne‎‏ في السبت، ١٦ أبريل ٢٠١٦

“It accidentally started making ‘the growl,'” Payne described, “and I went, ‘I need to get that. Like, I don’t think my kids need that, I think I need that.'”

Payne went live on Facebook from the Kohl’s parking lot on a Thursday afternoon in 2016. Just three days later, she was in New York City awaiting a Monday morning interview on live television. The world had seen the “Chewbacca Mom,” and they wanted more.

تم النشر بواسطة ‏‎Candace Payne‎‏ في الثلاثاء، ٢٤ مايو ٢٠١٦

“The world, as a whole, is in need of a good laugh,” Payne shared, wisely. And she certainly achieved her goal.

Payne’s antics were so well received, in fact, that Kohl’s decided to pay the Texas mom and her family a visit. Representatives from the store came to Payne’s Grand Prairie, Texas, home bearing heaps of gifts; Payne’s kids’ faces lit up like all of their birthdays and Christmases had come at once.

The happiest Chewbacca

Candace didn't want to share her Chewbacca mask. So we showed up to make sure she didn't have to! #AllTheGoodStuff

تم النشر بواسطة ‏‎Kohl's‎‏ في السبت، ٢١ مايو ٢٠١٦

The store gifted the Payne family with three extra Chewbacca masks (one each for Payne’s husband, son, and daughter), some additional Star Wars toys, and a generous $2,500 worth of gift cards.

Payne was, and continues to be, completely overwhelmed by her overnight success.

“Chewbacca Mom” Candace Payne throws the first pitch in a game between the Houston Astros and Tampa Bay Rays in Florida on June 11, 2016 (©Getty Images | Mike Carlson)

Life has been on the up and up since that fateful unboxing in the Kohl’s parking lot. Chewbacca Mom was invited onto The Late Late Show with James Corden, she met her hero J.J. Abrams, and she threw the first pitch for a baseball game between Houston and Tampa Bay to the applause of the gathered crowd.

“It’s changed the trajectory of my life and the trajectory of my family’s life,” Payne told ABC.

She’s penned three books on how to have more fun in life: Laugh It Up!, Defiant Joy Study Guide, and Simple Joys. But perhaps best of all, the daring mom got a tattoo of the tall, fuzzy Chewbacca himself to commemorate her extraordinary rise to internet fame.

“I had to do it,” Payne wrote, captioning a picture of the tattoo she posted on Facebook. “I sketched this design and finally got it tattooed today.”

Watch the video:

RECOMMENDED