The Texas mom who became Facebook’s biggest star after posting a live stream of herself wearing a Chewbacca toy mask has now been offered full college tuition scholarships for her family.
Candace Payne, known as “Chewbacca mom,” was surprised with the scholarship offer while visiting Southeastern University in Lakeland, Florida, on Monday. Payne was in Florida with her family for a visit to Walt Disney World in nearby Orlando.
Payne, a stay-at-home mom from Grand Prairie, Texas, was on a tour of the 5,000-student, private Christian school with the school’s mascot when SEU’s president, Dr. Kent Ingle, joined them.
Ingle offered Payne, her husband and their two kids, ages 6 and 7, according to an SEU official, full tuition scholarships whenever they’d like to use them.
Payne knew of Southeastern University through the school’s vice president of strategic partnership, Justin Lathrop, who was the founder of Payne’s home church in Texas, according to school officials.
“If she wants to take advantage of it, we’ll make good on our promise, even if it’s 15 or 20 years from now,” Brian Carroll, executive vice president of Southeastern University, told ABC News.
Carroll, who described Payne as “completely caught off guard” by the offer, said the school also offers online and hybrid programs that Payne and her husband could take advantage of from Texas.
Payne has received more than 150 million views and counting on her Facebook live video from last month that shows Payne simply trying on a Chewbacca toy mask in a parking lot. The mask was a self-proclaimed birthday gift to herself.