A 7-year-old Arkansas girl’s Christmas wish has been granted early, thanks to the internet and a special toy manufacturer.
Last year, Vivian Lord’s letter to various toy companies asking them to design a female version of the iconic Green Army Men figurines went viral.
“Why do you not make girl army men[?],” Vivian wrote. “My friend’s mom is in the Army to[o] so why don’t you make them to[o]?”
Vivian wrote that she has seen pink Army figurines sold, but noted that people in the Army don’t wear pink. Of all the companies the Lords sent the letter to, Pennsylvania-based BMC Toys was the only to respond, according to GMA.
“It was a heartfelt letter,” Jeff Imel, president of BMC Toys, told NPR at the time. “And it reminded me of being a kid and always wanting that toy that you couldn’t get in the gumball machine. So I really looked into it.”
Brittany Lord Vivian Lord's letter
BMC Toys BMC's designs
Imel kept his promise. According to GMA, he recently gifted two bags of BMC Toys' plastic Army women figures to Vivian, who was thrilled with the surprise.
"Vivian was very excited to have the toy in hand," Brittany told GMA. "She loved all of the details and [the] different poses that were included."
She continued: "She is very happy and thankful that her dream for toy equality came true.”
Vivian was on vacation with her family last July when she first spotted the group of Green Army Men figurines, the family told GMA. While playing with the toys, she quickly began to wonder why there were no women fighters in the bunch.
“She wanted us to do a Google search to see if they did in fact exist because, if they did, she wanted us to get some,” Vivian’s mom, Brittany Lord, told GMA.
“I’ve been wanting to have girl Army men, but there’s no girl Army men,” Vivian explained to KTHV. “It’s kind of weird.”
Now, Vivian has toys that look like her to play with — and, hopefully, other girls will be able to enjoy them soon.
Brittany Lord Vivian Lord
BMC Toys had originally planned to make the female figurines available to the public before Christmas, but had to push the launch to January due to manufacturing delays caused by the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, GMA reported. According to Imel, the toys, which come in several different colors and poses, are available for pre-order.
Brittany told GMA her daughter is “wise beyond her years” and hopes that Vivian’s story inspires other kids to speak their minds.
"I think this is a great example of listening to kids because they see things that we don’t see," Brittany said in an interview with GMA last year. "Things have always been that way and we just go with it and children with fresh eyes can see things the way they’re supposed to be."