You can still have a pretty magical Christmas even if you’re flat out broke, but what happens when you’re heartbroken too? Stephanie Rivera’s kids knew they couldn’t afford to spend money on gifts. So over the last three years, Christmas time came an went with Stephanie still struggling to keep their heads above water. The kids knew they were lucky to have each other, and that in itself is life’s most important gift. But they no longer believed in the spirit of Christmas. But one day, Santa decided to visit their home and pay them a little visit. Soon enough, he started pulling out gifts from his magical sack and changed their entire world.At seven years old, she unfortunately lost her mother, but the tragedy didn’t end there. Stephanie kept bouncing from one adoptive home into another, and by the time she was fifteen years old, she was homeless and roaming the streets.
And ever since then, Stephanie’s been struggling to feed her family and pay bills. She had to make sacrifices to keep their heads above water, but it was all worth it as long as her kids were happy.
Fox5 Surprise Squad’s Operation North Pole’s program is all about keeping the spirit of Christmas alive, and reporter Monica Jackson believed no one needed their help more than Stephanie and her family.
Once the reporter and Santa knocked on Stephanie’s door, she greeted them with a big smile on her face. She was completely bewildered. Once they started talking, the reporter learned that Stephanie had had an extremely rough life. She was bouncing a lot on her own, but she wasn’t about to stay put. The hardworking mom even went back to school to get her high school diploma, despite having three kids who needed her round the clock.
The young mom knew she had a long road ahead. But nothing in life was simply handed to her, so she was up for the challenge. “My childhood was pretty rough. My mom died when I was 7. I grew up from family to family and each time I kept going it was just a new household I had to go to, so I never really got to do Christmas,” she said.
These two kind strangers surprised her with a few thoughtful gifts, which quickly had her tearing up and breaking down. Stephanie couldn’t believe her eyes.
But the struggling mom of three had no idea just how life-changing those gifts really were. The first gift was tickets to a Fox5 family event for her entire family. Then, Stephanie was gifted a $500 gift card from Albertson’s grocery store. But there was more!
Not getting any Christmas gifts had become sort of the routine at Stephanie’s household. It’s been years since her kids had gotten any gifts, and now, Stephanie would be able to make their dreams come true.
The reporter and Santa had to struggle to keep themselves together. It was such a beautiful yet heartbreaking moment. Stephanie had been through so much in life and she was finally catching a break!
Over 700,000 people saw Fox5 Las Vegas’ video and undoubtedly felt inspired to spread the joy and help others in need. Stephanie and her family are bound to spend a wonderful Christmas thanks to this amazing crew. Clearly, the magic of Christmas has been restored!