A TikTok video has gone viral while making countless people cry happy tears along with an older woman who received the first doll she ever owned as a Christmas present this year, bringing her to tears in the middle of what looks like a workplace break room or cafeteria.
The video was posted by new TikTok user and doll recipient Lilian Mejia, who proclaimed in Spanish in the video and its description text that it was her first doll— a rarity among women in a society where dolls are closely associated with the gender.
Unfortunately, there remain millions of children in the world whose parents can’t afford to buy them toys, let alone a real American Girl doll. Mejia may have been one of those kids, but now as an adult with loving friends, she was able to finally have the experience that so many girls dream of.
The video shows Mejia in her work vest ripping open the wrapping paper with gusto, clearly already emotional as her friend encourages her until she leans on the box with her head in her arms and cries.
Another work friend gets up to hug and comfort her, and she then hastily takes the doll out of the box, declaring in a strained voice that “never in my life” had she received a doll like that.
According to a comment by Mejia’s granddaughter, Gabriela, the doll was given to her by her work friends and has been enjoying the “sweet & loving comments” left by the many TikTok users touched by this emotional scene.
The video has received over 2.8 million views in five days and over 15.7 thousand comments, many gushing over how much they love seeing Mejia so happy and others sympathizing with what it’s like to grow up wanting.
“I cry. This world is cruel with some people,” wrote one TikTok commenter. “She never had a childhood and her emotion of getting a doll says it all.”
Around 365 million children currently live in what is defined as “extreme poverty” by UNICEF today, meaning their families get by on less than $1.90 per day. As the pandemic rages on and climate change worsens, that number is expected to rise in the coming years.
Those who make it out of poverty in adulthood are often left with varying levels of trauma directly related to that situation, with many feeling like their desperate conditions left holes in their lives as they watched people with more enjoy luxuries they could only dream of. A lot of people praised this scene of what they hope is a moment of emotional healing for Mejia as the video spread to Twitter.
“My mom grew up very poor and there were these Precious Moments stickers she always wanted as a kid but she could never have them,” wrote one Twitter user. “I spent a month looking for those 70s era stickers and got them for her for Christmas and her reaction made it worth every second of searching.”
If you were hoping for an update on the original video, you’re in luck, because Mejia posted another doing a cute little dance in a Santa hat and then showing her new doll, still in the plastic wrap, to the camera and making her dance. The description reads “For my dear followers” in Spanish.