A boutique owner has melted hearts online after she gifted a teenager her prom dress free of charge.
Summer Lucille is the owner of Juicy Body Goddess, a plus-size clothing boutique in Charlotte, North Carolina, that offers sizes from XL to 6X. On TikTok, Lucille frequently shares videos of the happy faces that come into her store looking for dresses, and has gained 1.3m followers on the app as a result.
This week, Lucille went viral on TikTok once again when she surprised an 18-year-old high school senior by gifting her a $700 prom dress for free. The customer, named Elyse, travelled six hours for a consultation at Lucille’s store, bringing along her mother, two aunts, and her grandmother.
In the video, which has been viewed more than 13 million times, Lucille could be heard praising Elyse as she tried on three different prom dresses. The first was a glittery red gown with spaghetti straps, but the teenager’s family wasn’t a fan of the low-cut neckline. Next, she tried on a purple dress with criss-cross straps, a corseted back and of course, pockets. For the third dress, Elyse tried on an asymmetric strapless black gown, but the purple dress was a clear winner.
“So this dress is $700,” Lucille told Elyse and her family as she rang them up at the cash register. “But it’s free.”
The store owner was met with silence and blank stares, before Elyse asked: “What do you mean it’s for free?”
Lucille replied: “We’re giving it to you.”
The high schooler and her family were overwhelmed by the kind gesture, as they hugged each other and erupted into tears. Even Lucille added in the caption that she cried while editing the TikTok video.
The comments section was flooded by emotional users praising Lucille for gifting the free prom dress. Others shared their own experiences with prom dress shopping, and how they could’ve used a store like Juicy Body Goddess when they were a teen.
“Prom dress shopping was horrifying for me. This is such a great thing you did for her,” read the top comment. Lucille responded with: “It was horrific for me too…dressing these dolls is healing me.”
“That purple is GORGEOUS on her. Her smile just made the whole look,” said someone else.
“This made me cry,” shared another.
One user wrote: “You are such a beautiful human being,” while another said: “She’s never going to forget how special you made her feel. Her confidence was exploding!! Thanks for putting all this good out in the world.”
In an interview with People, Lucille revealed that one of her TikTok followers had offered to pay $200 towards her next customer’s prom dress. “At that moment, I knew that was the universe telling me, just give her the dress,” she told the outlet. “That follower was just an angel just reminding me that you just have to give.”
Although Elyse’s family kept wondering about the price tag of each dress, Lucille assured them not to worry about the price until they got to the register. “When she got into that purple dress, she lit up,” Lucille added. “I couldn’t let her walk out of that store without that dress.”
The owner of Juicy Body Goddess explained to People that the inspiration behind offering solely plus-size fashion at her store stems from her own experiences with prom dress shopping. “I know the struggles of not being able to find something to wear,” she said, later adding: “I had a horrific time at prom. I couldn’t find nothing. The dress I wore was horrific. It was a very sad time in my life.”
“I just want people to know that this place is just a safe place for everybody,” Lucille said. “No matter what your size, you are here on purpose and you have the right to be loved.”
The Independent has contacted Summer Lucille for comment.