I don’t know about you, but all I really want for Christmas this year is a big ol’ hug and a heaping dose of support, encouragement, and understanding.
To say 2020 has been a doozy would be the understatement of the century, and we’re currently smack dab in the middle of a holiday season that promises to be very different from previous years. For many people, pandemic-induced anxiety and isolation have only compounded the feelings of loneliness and sadness that already tend to surface around this time.
Enter Nick Cho, aka “Your Korean dad,” whose wholesome and supportive TikTok videos are capturing hearts around the world and giving people comfort during what has been one of the most difficult years on record.
Cho, a 47-year-old Bay Area coffee entrepreneur and co-founder of Wrecking Ball Coffee, has been using his TikTok account to be a doting, supportive dad to anyone who could use one, which as of late includes more than 1.4 million followers on social media.
The best part? The viral videos are mostly just of Cho doing regular dad stuff. But what makes these so special is the way they’re filmed—like you’re right there with your dad, tagging along on his outings.
He speaks directly to the screen, asking questions and waiting for responses as if you’re having an actual dialogue, always picking up a variety of snacks or items which he then generously “shares,” and offering up simple but endearing words of encouragement and support.
Some people say they find the videos cute and fun. Others have shared emotional reaction videos of themselves in tears. They strike a chord particularly for those who didn’t grow up with a loving, kind, supportive father and appreciate what Cho represents and his awesome example of what a dad can be.
“I get a lot of people—very heartfelt messages expressing that they don’t have a dad, or they did but their dad died, or their dad walked out on them, or that their father is abusive or neglectful in some sort of way,” said Cho in an interview with KCBS Radio, a local Bay Area news station.
Many followers say that the videos make them feel cared about, even comparing Cho to a modern-day Mr. Rogers for grown-ups.
“One of the things that has come up from time to time is that people are comparing me to Mr. Rogers,” Cho said. “Kind of saying that I’m like a Korean Mr. Rogers of this time. And it’s really funny that people say that because Mr. Rogers is like one of my top three heroes of my life.”
He continued: “People think of him as a really sweet, kind person—Mr. Rogers was fierce. He was a fierce warrior for what he believed in, and he believed in children and the health and safety of children.”
There is definitely a Mr. Rogers feel to Cho’s videos—you can’t help but feel safe and comforted by his gentle, soothing voice and kind presence.
Cho somehow also manages to add an endearing silliness to his videos, as evidenced by this one where he demonstrates how to do a “finger heart” and other heart variations you can make to show you care about someone.
“Whichever one of those it is, it means ‘I love you,'” he says at the end.
For a compilation of some of Cho’s best and most viral videos, check out this one from NowThis, which will definitely bring a tear to your eyes:
Meet Nick Cho, the Korean dad behind the most wholesome TikTok account there is pic.twitter.com/XXDaXDWGUH
— NowThis (@nowthisnews) December 2, 2020
“I’m just trying to listen and understand. At the end of the day, I’m just being myself — trying to be my best self — and offer up what I have to offer,” Cho told TODAY.
“It’s less about being the perfect dad or whatever, it’s more like little snapshots and lessons that ultimately when you put it together … helps heal a lot of the hurt and helps people treat each other better.”
So thank you, Korean dad, for being a source of positivity, joy, and comfort in a world that has felt very dark and scary lately.
You’re the hero we didn’t even know we needed.