Juan Antiles – aka the half Puerto Rican, half Dominican online personality who has endlessly entertained us with his relatable skits on growing up Latino as LeJuan James – usually keep things light and fun on his social media networks. But this week, he shared what is likely his most touching video ever. Starting the video set against a white backdrop, LeJuan explains that he’s about to surprise his parents with a brand-new home. The video then jumps to him walking with his blindfolded parents along an empty street. When he takes off their blindfolds and they see what’s in front of their eyes, all three of them break down in tears.
“When you’re young and naive, you don’t understand how hard your parents are working,” he told E! News. “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. I remember that at the end of the year in 2016, one of my new year resolutions was to do that for them.”
With the financial crisis in 2007, his parents were hit particularly hard and lost two houses. His grandmother also became very ill during that time. “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,” he said.
“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 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.”
Over the last five months, LeJuan worked with a realtor to find his parents the perfect home. Though his parents didn’t know their son had bought them a house, just before the reveal he told them to tell their landlord that they were moving out. Naturally, this raised a lot of questions from his confused parents, so James handled it the best way he knew how: he kinda ignored them for a week. “They know how to push the right buttons,” he said. “I kind of went ghost on them for a week, because they’re so good at getting information.”
Check out the emotional video below: