If there’s one thing we know for sure, it’s that we should never underestimate the power of the internet!
Joy Milan and her sister, Kack Keomanivong, came to the United States as refugees from Laos back in the 1980s. Their American dream was to someday open a restaurant, which finally came true in October 2022. Unfortunately, their small taco shop failed to bring in customers, prompting Joy’s daughter to share a heartbreaking video on TikTok.
“It breaks my heart to see my mom watching the door every day, waiting for a customer to walk in,” Isabel Milan wrote as a caption. In the video, Joy sadly watches the door to her empty restaurant, Taco-Bout-Joys in Glenview, Illinois.
“I wish I could give her customers for Christmas,” Isabel continued.
To Isabel’s amazement, her post gained traction on TikTok immediately. The post was at 200 likes when she went to sleep; by the time she woke up, more than 1 million people had liked it! Not only that, but the “likes” were translating to real life business for the restaurant. When Isabel got to work that day, there was a line of customers outside Taco-Bout-Joy!
“I got a little nervous because it’s only me and my mom,” Isabel admitted. “So we called everyone we knew and, by the end of the night, had 15 friends and family there to help.”
Joy spent the entire day working the grill as orders poured in. Kack’s daughter, Jordyn, said customers flocked to the restaurant in droves, keeping workers hopping from the time they opened until closing.
“We sold over 150 birria tacos alone,” Jordyn said. “We ended up selling out of birria, shrimp, guacamole, and sent out relatives to purchase more steak. I would say over 500 tacos were sold alone, not including burritos and tortas.”
Joy and her family are overwhelmed by the amount of support they received from their community.
“I really didn’t think anyone was going to come,” said Isabel. “But I think it’s great. We are like over the moon.”
On TikTok, Isabel’s post continues to rack up likes. The initial video has more than 7 million likes to date, and more people are discovering it and heading to Taco-Bout-Joys to show their support!
“We’ve had people who are vacationing in Chicago stop in, including one couple from Texas who saw the post and came to eat before heading to the airport,” Isabel said.
On Facebook, the restaurant took a moment to thank their TikTok family for helping a small business find new fans.
“What a Christmas miracle!” they wrote. “A huge thank you from our workers for all of the love and support shown today! The tiktok community really pulled through for us today with an outstanding amount of sales! It was so nice seeing many new beautiful faces today.”
TikTok to the rescue! We love seeing social media used for such a wonderful, real-life purpose. We wish Taco-Bout-Joys all the best as they continue to serve the hungry people of Glenview.
Share this story to support small businesses!
Want more good news?
Sign up for Smile, our free daily good news email with over 600,000 happy and optimistic subscribers!
Want to be happier in just 5 minutes a day? Sign up for Morning Smile and join over 455,000+ people who start each day with good news.