— -- Chew-HA HA HA.
Dallas-area mom Candace Payne has had the Internet in absolute hysterics with more than a whopping 135 million views on her Facebook live video simply trying on a Chewbacca toy mask in a parking lot. Her self-proclaimed birthday gift to herself has turned into a gift for the entire world after her infectious laugh went insanely viral as the most-viewed Facebook live video ever.
But now “Good Morning America” is learning the backstory as to how Payne stumbled upon the now-famous mask in the store, which she didn’t intentionally seek out.
“I honestly wasn’t there for the mask,” Payne told “GMA.” “I was there for myself for some yoga pants because I’m trying to work out more. And it’s not really going that well, but I ended up going to the toy section because I got discouraged about the yoga pants and I thought, ‘Maybe not today. But I can get a toy for my kids.’ And I walk through the toy section and I accidentally bump my shoulder into this box. And I had seen this before, but I didn’t realize it made sound until that moment. It accidentally started making the growl, and I went, ‘I need to get that. Like, I don’t think my kids need that, I think I need that.’”
The mother of two said she made a few other stops after leaving Kohl’s, “and then it was just calling from the bag.” She could no longer resist the urge to try on her new purchase.
“I was thinking, ‘I’ve got 30 minutes before I have to be responsible and pick up my children from school and once they see this I’ll never get to see it again,’” she recalled. “So I thought, I’m going to share this with my Facebook friends and family, and if anybody wants to see it, they’re going to have to see it now. And I’m going to document. This was mine to begin with. This was never theirs.”
Social media not only tuned in, but loved the video so much Payne has now spiraled into viral superstardom, something she’s still having a hard time grappling with.
“I feel like I deserve a gold medal, just to say that I actually have broken a record that deserves maybe a podium and a whole song and maybe some flowers,” she joked.
But more than anything, Payne is just thrilled she’s been able to share a few laughs with the world.
“In all honestly, I think the world as a whole is in need of a good laugh. I think we’re in need of somebody to lift our spirits, to not take ourselves so seriously, and to maybe break some cynicism worldwide,” she explained. “It just needs to stop, and somebody needs to have a good belly laugh with somebody, and it happened to be me that day.
“The best part of all of this is being able to share joy with people, hear stories of people coming out of depression,” Payne added. “I had one lady message me and tell me she has an autistic daughter that hadn’t laughed in two months, and she said every time she showed her the video, she laughed and laughed. And from one mama’s heart to another mama, to see a child laugh that you haven’t seen laugh, those are the stories I will take with me every day.”