When 60-year-old Randy Heiss of Arizona set out on a hike through the desert with his dog, he probably had no idea that he would soon be participating in (and experiencing himself) a Christmas miracle.
As he traipsed along through Patagonia, he came across some tattered balloon remains and picked them up to properly dispose of them — but he realized this was no ordinary balloon. There was a slip of paper attached to this balloon.
“I quickly realized it was a Christmas list,” Heiss told FOX 10. “It’s written in Spanish and I can tell it was obviously a child by the handwriting.”
Though Heiss’ Spanish was rudimentary, his wife was able read the note to him when he got home. It was signed by a girl named “Dayami.”
“She asked for a lot of things, the cutest was whatever you can give me one to four,” he said. “Enchanted house, clothes, coloring book, magic markers, paints and she asked for Pokemon characters.”
“I wanted to make sure that I did everything I could to make that child’s wishes come true.”
There was another reason he was so eager for this opportunity. He and his wife had one child, a son, who had passed away nearly a decade ago, leaving them without children or grandchildren.
“Being around children at Christmastime has been absent in our lives,” he said, according to the Chicago Tribune. “It’s been kind of a gaping hole in our Christmas experience.”
But unless he could find out where the balloon had come from, he wouldn’t be able to make Dayami’s Christmas dreams come true. He had a sneaking suspicion, based on the wind and his knowledge of the area, that the message had likely come from Nogales, Mexico.
He’d found the note on Dec. 16, and created a Facebook post in hopes of locating someone who knew how he could get presents to the child — but no one seemed to have the lead he needed.
After a few days of no bites, he contacted a radio station in Nogales to see if they could help him. They put the story on air after getting more details from Heiss’ wife, and by the very next day, they’d found 8-year-old Dayami’s family. They wanted to meet him at the radio station.
“It just changed my entire day,” he said. “Instead of going back to my office in Bisbee, I went with my wife to Walmart.”
They drove to the radio station in Nogales with most of the items from Dayami’s list and then some so that Dayami’s sister Ximena could join in on the fun, too.
The meeting was magical. “Their eyes were wide open with wonder,” said Heiss. “Like ‘Oh my gosh, this really did work!'”
“It was a beautiful, beautiful experience,” he said. “Quite healing for us.”
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