Doll with prosthetic leg is a viral surprise for Cypress girl
'It's got a leg like me!' Video captures heart-wrenching moment little girl sobbed with joy after being given an American Girl doll with a prosthetic leg made to match her own
10-year-old Emma Bennet, from Texas, wears a prosthetic right leg
American Girl dolls aren't made with prosthetics, but Emma's parents reached out to a real prosthetic company to make one just for her doll
A Step Ahead Prosthetics sent the lookalike doll with a note saying that the doll was ready to live 'without limitations' with Emma
Upon opening the gift, Emma began sobbing and hugging the doll, thrilled to have a doll that looks like her
A little girl from Texas cried tears of joy when her mom gave her a new American Girl doll — because it had a prosthetic leg, just like her.
Most fans of the pricey doll pick out mini-me's for their toy chest, with matching skin tone, hair, eyes, and even accessories. But that was easier said than done for 10-year-old Emma from Cypruss, who is missing her right leg.
American Girl doesn't make dolls with prosthetic limbs, so Emma's mom Courtney Fletcher Bennett set out on a mission to have one made.
Courtney reached out to a company called A Step Ahead Prosthetics, which makes full-size prosthetics for people, not dolls. Though it was an unusual request, the thoughtful company temporarily got into the doll business to make a new leg just for Emma's American Girl.
When it was finally ready and attached to the doll, Courtney set the camera rolling to record Emma's reaction when she opened her gift.
In the video — which has now been shared nearly eight million times on Facebook — Emma's little sister can be seen walking into the room with the box.
Emma is waiting in anticipation on the couch as her mom pushes forward and ottoman to use as a table. The youngster seems exciting to be getting a doll, though she doesn't yet know there is a bigger surprise in store.
'Read the letter first,' her sister tells her as her mom helps her open the box.
Dutifully, Emma picks up the letter inside. She reads it silently and seems to quickly come across a word that makes her perk up.
Immediately, she opens a flap in the box covering the lower half of the doll — to reveal that her right leg has been replaced by a bright pink prosthetic.
Emma also has a prosthetic right leg, though hers is a more traditional shade of gray. Seeing that her doll looks like her, she gasps in shock before slamming the flap shot.
'You got to be kidding me,' she says with incredible excitement before shrieking and excitedly ripping the box open to pull the doll out.
She begins sobbing, clutching the doll as a tears of joy run down her face. Her mom prompts her to turn the doll around and show it to her.
'It's got a leg like me!' she cries in happy hysterics as she faces the doll toward the camera.
'I love you,' she sobs, seemingly speaking to both her mom and the doll before hugging it again and placing it on the table to examine the leg.
Courtney then explains that she should finish reading the letter, which A Step Ahead Prosthetics included in the box. The loving mom picks it up to read out loud.
'After she arrived, she was given a room to stay while her new leg was being made,' she reads. 'She was fitted with the leg in her favorite color pink and started walking on it right away.
'After a few weeks of training to walk and run in her new prosthetic, she is ready to go home and live her life without limitations with you.'
Emma is still completely overcome as her mom gives her a kiss on the head and her little sister shrieks with excitement nearby. She once again picks up the doll for a hug, still crying as she expresses her gratitude to A Step Ahead Prosthetics: 'Thank you for making a doll like me!'
The heartwarming clip has been shared almost 100,000 times, and commenters have chimed in to remark that they, too, cried with Emma while watching the video.
And though American Girl doesn't make prosthetics, the company does make an effort to be inclusive, representing girls of every race and background. They've also worked to include girls with disabilities, and sell separate accessories including a wheelchair, crutches, a hearing aid, a service dog in a harness, and even an allergy-free lunch kit.
In 2014, a video of a then-10-year-old girl named Melissa Shang begging the company to make a special doll with disabilities went viral.
Melissa, who suffers from muscular dystrophy, said she, too, wanted a doll like her — and inspired over 145,000 people to sign a petition asking American Girl to release a disabled doll.