NEW YORK (AP) — Before last week, Candace Payne’s infectious laugh was known only to her close friends and family. After she went into hysterics donning a toy Chewbacca mask in a video she posted online, more than 137 million viewers know it too.
Payne went live on Facebook from her car in a Texas parking lot after buying the mask Thursday. By Sunday night, she was in New York City, awaiting a Monday morning appearance on ABC’s “Good Morning America.”
“The world, as a whole, is in need of a good laugh,” she said on “GMA” when asked why she thought her video had struck a chord.
Payne said she headed to a Kohl’s department store in search of yoga pants Thursday when she brushed the Chewbacca mask by mistake. After the toy emitted the Star Wars creature’s distinctive roar, she said she had to have it.
“I don’t think my kids need that, I think I need that,” she said she thought.
After making a few more stops, she said the mask was “just calling from the bag” and she posted to Facebook.
On Friday, representatives of Menomonee Falls, Wis.-based Kohl’s came to her Grand Prarie, Texas, home bearing Chewbacca masks for her husband and two children along with other Star Wars toys and $2,500 in gift cards. On “Good Morning America,” she was presented with more toys and another $2,500 gift certificate.
ABC and the Star Wars franchise are both part of The Walt Disney Company.
Since the first Facebook live video Thursday, Payne has posted several more about her experience, including one from behind the scenes at the ABC morning show.
After a whirlwind couple of days, Payne summed up the experience on “Good Morning America,” saying the best part about it is “being able to share joy with people.”