LeJuan James just made his life-long dreams come true of buying his parents a home. Luckily for us, he documented the heartfelt moment, and we can say it's almost impossible not to cry. In the video, which already has 2.7 million views on Facebook, we see his parents blindfolded in front of their new home. Once their son tells them, whose house it is, everyone instantly begins to cry. As we found out after interviewing the star, the story behind what led them to that moment will make you understand LeJuan's drive to achieve this accomplishment.
After many years of dreaming and months of planning, he was finally able to give his parents the biggest surprise of their lives. As the social media star explains, this goal for him stemmed from growing up and seeing how hard his parents worked. But as an adult, he was able to fully grasp all that his mother and father did for him and his siblings.
"When you're young and naive you don't understand how hard your parents are working. My parents would bust their tail working overnights, working multiple shifts and they'd alternate to take care of us, it was three of us. And you don't really understand until you're a little older, then you understand the concept of money and how hard it is to get it and how easy it is to spend it," LeJuan tells E! News. "I remember that at the end of the year in 2016, one of my new year resolutions was to do that for them. I was able to invest into myself the previous year, and now I wanted to invest in them. It was five months of me working and planning with my realtor to try to find the right home to accommodate them, especially where they wanted to live and be around their businesses."
And if you're wondering if his parents had any inkling of what was about to happen—they didn't. "They had no idea until the point that they were standing in front of the house. When we got close to the week, I had to tell reveal to them and say, 'Hey guys, you have to tell your landlord where you're renting that you guys are moving out,'" he says.
As the funny man explains, his mom and dad had a lot of questions after that, "So, of course, they were like, 'What? What are you talking about?' They kept calling me trying to find out information. I kind of went ghost on them for a week, because they're so good at getting information. They know how to push the right buttons. You can even tell, if you check my posting schedule for the last week or two, I haven't posted as much as I regularly do. I've been so focused on this running around and getting everything taken care of with the inspectors and making sure that all of the legalities in the contract were correct."
As he explained to us, this moment meant so much for LeJuan because of everything his parents went through.
"My parents went through a really hard emotional situation in 2007 when the economy crashed. They had two houses, and they lost them both in foreclosures. They've worked really hard their whole life to have that, and now they're in their 50s, and they saw themselves in this situation," he recalls.
But his family wasn't just hit with financial trouble during that time, they also going through a devasting loss.
"It means a lot. A lot more than what I think people understand because of what they went through. At the end of the video, I say, 'In loving memory of Carlita Ortiz.' Because my grandmother got really sick with brain cancer, her going through that is what caused my parents to go through a really tough financial situation because the best cancer specialists were in Rhode Island to take care of her," LeJuan painfully remembers. "So my mom literally moved back and forth, back and forth. We would stay over there to take care of my grandmother, so throughout this whole process, she put herself in a tough bind and a financial situation where she ended up losing her house, ended up losing some of the businesses. But she didn't care, and neither did any of us because it was our last hope of trying to take care of our grandmother which is why I honored her. She always used to tell me, 'You need to make sure you take care of your parents, you need to make sure you do the best for them.' So, it kind of comes full circle with my grandmother's story and me being able to take care of my parents."
Most kids grow up idolizing and wanting to be like their favorite hero. For me.... I've always wanted to be like my DAD. In my eyes he's a superhero he's my Superman. Thank you pa for all your sacrifices. You've worked 2 jobs almost your whole life to keep a roof over our shoulders and food on the table. You've never once left my moms side and love her unconditionally. You've always taught me to respect and treat others how I would like to be treated. Your an amazing father and our family is forever grateful. Love you pops @Najubry ?? #HappyFathersDay #TeamLeJuan
His grandmother's words combined with his appreciation for his family gave him the determination to achieve this goal. The comedian tells us, ever since the big moment there have been a lot of happy tears.
"It's been an emotional rollercoaster and still is, ever since the moment that we finished filming. When you hear me touring the house, that's a conversation that we're having right after the blindfolds. That is my mom telling me about the Ten Commandments and that's something that my grandmother always used to preach to me about," he says. "You know it's hard for us kids sometimes to express how much we love our parents, even though they know it. It's hard actually verbally to come out and say it. It's not like something that you constantly do. It was such a genuine moment because it was just me pouring my heart out and telling them in that particular time, 'This is me trying to repay you guys for being the wonderful parents that you are.'"
And like many of us, LeJuan admits that he might not express that gratitude and love as often as he'd like, "I feel like I don't say it enough, so I wanted to say it at that particular moment. This morning they both called me crying saying, 'We can't stop thinking about it. We can't believe this is our house!' And it's been like that from the moment that they took off the blindfolds. It's just been an emotional rollercoaster of joy, and you cry because you can't contain it and then you see the overwhelming reaction of people on the Internet."
Aside from helping his parents, the social media maven, who has almost 2 million followers on Instagram and 2.6 million on Facebook, hopes that this will also motivate others and help them appreciate those around them.
"Like for me, I always try to inspire others. I always tell people, 'Why can't you be me?' You know I had a dream, I pursued it. I just want other people to see me as an example and say, 'Hey, I want to go harder today for the ones that I love,'" he says.
LeJuan and his parents are still in awe of everything, as he explained to us that the unveiling happened Tuesday and the video was up and edited shortly after. And in less than 24 hours after posting, he already sees an incredibly positive feedback from his fans.
"It's just the overwhelming gratitude that you see from people. What I really love about my stuff is that I target the whole household. You'll see kids, and you'll see grandparents, and you'll see parents. Everyone can relate. I see it a lot from the younger crowd. They'll say, 'This is inspiring, I want to do this. This is inspiring me and thank you for keeping in things into perspective for me for what I want to do,' he explains. And I've seen it from parents saying, 'This is so beautiful to see the genuine love that you guys share amongst your family. And I hope that one day, my kid can potentially do this for me in the long run.' You know, that really resonates with me because that's really how you see the over all impact. Besides the views, the comments, the engagement, it's something that you hold with you, you'll think about it, and it means something."
People have felt so moved by LeJuan's video that he's received an unimaginable amount of emails from people simply thanking him and sharing their story and how this affected them.
"So far, I've received so many emails about how that personally affected them, whether it's somebody that lost a parent and wasn't able to do that for them but it makes them happy to see me do it. Others have sent me emails saying, 'Thank you. This is going to push me to where I need to be.' It's not like one sentence, you'll get paragraphs from people, it's really hard for me to read them all but I try to keep up with it," LeJuan says. "This positive impact...this is what I want to stand by, and I'm somebody that tries to push positive impact especially in the Hispanic demographic. There are so many hard working people, and the world needs to see that."
Aside from spreading goodness through his hilarious videos, the Orlando native has big plans for the year ahead. He's consistently worked with huge brands, but this is a single project and new venture.
"I have a book coming out, maybe in the end of next year. It'll be highlighting our culture and the Hispanic demographic from a US Hispanic point of view. It'll be short-form essays talking about stuff that I do on the Internet, kind of going a little more in depth from my perspective," he reveals. "I'm going to announcing that soon, and we'll have a book tour. It should be really fun."
We can't wait, LeJuan!