A mom who had been learning French on her own and always hoped to one day go to Paris was left beaming in shock when her son surprised her with a dream trip there.
Marcia Simon, 71, from Gainesville, Georgia, unwrapped numerous French-themed clues before getting to her son Stephen’s big surprise.
Marcia and her late husband used to love traveling before he passed in 2016.
Today, Marcia is a member of a local community group, which helps arrange the likes of dog walks, bible study and cooking.
The group is like “one big family,” Marcia said, and she and a fellow member, Brenda, who is also her neighbor, decided that they would like to help each other learn a new language.
Using the app Duolingo, Marcia opted for French, while Brenda decided to learn Spanish – the pair holding each other accountable by chatting about what lessons they had undertaken and challenges achieved.
During her studies, Marcia mentioned to Stephen that she would love to one day head to Paris – and so her son started working on the dream trip.
Having traveled from his home in Queens, New York, to Georgia for Christmas, Stephen sourced a series of hints for his big surprise: brie, a baguette, a beret, and macaroons that his mom could unwrap.
As Marcia opened gift after gift on Christmas Day, Stephen quietly recorded his mom’s reaction to each one – his mom’s responses getting more and more excitable but not yet ready for the big surprise.
Finally, Marcia reached a holiday card that revealed she was set to undertake her dream trip, which caused the 71-year-old to light up with joy.
Stephen said the moment was an emotional one to witness, as his mom cares for her 97-year-old mother, which has been exhausting and difficult at times.
This trip, Stephen hopes, will give his mom something to look forward to in, with the pair hoping to head to Paris in the fall of 2024.
He said: “My mother has always been an extremely positive and excitable soul.
“It’s infectious. So, I knew going into it that she was going to completely lose it.
“That’s actually why I filmed it – I wanted to show a few close friends her reaction.
“Never did I think I would be posting it to social until those friends said it was just so fun to watch.
“It really felt great to see such a pure moment of joy for my mom.
“It felt better than any gift I could have received.
“I was very happy that I could give her some good news for 2024.
“This isn’t a cheap gift – but what’s special about it is that it had meaning behind it.
“This was something she had been talking about for months.
“And, I think it can really remind people that listening to your loved ones and trying to give to them something that’s meaningful is the best gift you could give.
“It could be something simple around the house.
“It could be something they had lost or something that would make their life easier.
“It could be as simple as remembering to do a chore they had been constantly reminding you of or one they can’t do themselves.
“The old saying rings true – It’s the thought that counts.”