Elizabeth Faidley’s six-year-old daughter Ellie dreamed of having her very own baby mermaid, so the New Jersey mom thought she knew exactly what to get her for Christmas. Her hopes were dashed, however, when an exceptionally creepy baby mermaid doll arrived at her door — and that was before she found the drugs.
Faidley has taken to social media to share her story, which happened back in 2015. As Christmas time approached that year, her daughter came to her with the very specific wish.
“Not just a mermaid, and not just a baby,” she explained in a Facebook post. “A mermaid baby.”
Ellie even had a name picked out for her fishy bundle of joy, Faidley told TODAY Parents.
“She dreamed of the name Pearl. She would get a real mermaid baby and it would be named Pearl,” Faidley said. “And as her mom, I would do anything for her to have what her dream was.”
Faidley took to Etsy to find the doll of her daughter’s dreams, eventually giving $500 to a shop based in Alabama. When it arrived, however, people close to Faidley reacted with terror.
“I show her to several teenaged students who react to her face in sheer horror,” Faidley recounted. “I ignore this reaction, knowing Ellie will love Pearl.”
Unfortunately, Ellie’s feelings about the mer-baby fell well short of love, as this video from Christmas morning makes painfully clear.
“When I cut the camera off, I sat her down and she stared at the doll and said, ‘I wanted a pretty one,” Faidley said.
The mother tried to take the opportunity to teach her daughter about recognizing inner beauty — but Ellie wasn’t having it.
“I’m never touching that doll,” the six-year-old said. “There’s things messed up on that doll, Mom.”
After failing to appease Ellie by dying the doll’s hair different colors, Faidley found a nearby doll hospital, whom she hoped could do something to make Pearl a little less terrifying.
“I tell Ellie that Pearl is going off to the hospital to have her face and hair ‘adjusted,’ Faidley remembered. “Ellie wisely informs me that. ‘Pearl has even greater problems than those.’ Then, she proceeds to write on the box, ‘Please, please help this doll. She has so many problems.'”
Neither Ellie nor her mom knew just how right she was until Faidley received a call from the Secaucus Police Department. Apparently, the owners of the doll hospital had called them with a startling discovery.
“When they removed Pearl’s head to repaint her offensive skin, they found two ounces of COCAINE. STUFFED IN HER HEAD,” Faidley said.
Police later informed the mother that the Alabama-based Etsy shop she had purchased from was, in fact, a front for a drug-smuggling operation.
“We got the wrong head,” she said. “This was my first time in any drug espionage situation — I’m a violin teacher — but I guess they were selling these terrible, ugly mermaids to idiots like me who spend $500 on Etsy because they’re like, ‘No one’s going to but these, but it looks legitimate.’ They had a fake store but then I popped in like, ‘Here’s your money! Send me a mer-doll!’ So then they accidentally sent me a head filled with cocaine.”
While Faidley was able to persuade the police that she had made an innocent mistake, obtaining a refund from the doll hospital was another story.
“They refused to speak to me after Pearl was taken away because they thought the drugs were mine, so I literally had to call and be like, ‘THE DRUGS AREN’T MINE!’ until they would talk to me,” she said.
Years later, Ellie, now 10, still remembers the bizarre mix-up.
“She still thinks I should not have bought Pearl and she doesn’t know what was wrong with me,” Faidley said. “She will attest to Pearl’s hideousness and the fact that she knew there was something lingering inside that was not right. We just didn’t know it was cocaine.”