Acts of Kindness
School custodians that lost everything in a fire are blessed with $10,000 from stranger and more
The couple, who worked as school custodians for the last 14 years, lost their home and everything they owned in a house fire.
Maria Pangilinan
12.06.22

The holidays are a wonderful season for sharing.

This is a special time of the year when friends, family, and even strangers give generously to each other and share with those who may not have enough.

While some give gifts openly, others want to remain anonymous and focus the attention on the recipient, not themselves.

Often, those who give anonymously are called Secret Santa.

The tradition of Secret Santa is said to have originated from philanthropist Larry Dean Stewart who might be the “original Secret Santa.”

According to reports, he secretly gave away $100 bills to people in Kansas for more than 25 years.

He also donated $25,000 in $100 bills to New Yorkers after the 9/11 attacks.

The wonderful tradition of Secret Santa continues today.

YouTube - East Idaho News
Source:
YouTube - East Idaho News

The EastIdahoNews.com team has its own version of the holiday tradition, and the organization is helping a local Secret Santa give $1 million to people in Eastern Idaho.

Among their deserving recipients are Sylvia and Sergio Cornejo of Aberdeen, Idaho.

The couple has worked as school custodians for the last 14 years, often arriving at 5:00 AM to prepare the school before teachers and students come in.

YouTube - East Idaho News
Source:
YouTube - East Idaho News

Last year, Sylvia retired due to health issues. Sergio, who was the head janitor, retired soon after to stay home and care for Sylvia.

Earlier this month, a fire engulfed Cornejo home and all their belongings, leaving them homeless. All they had left were the clothes on their back.

Secret Santa asked the East Idaho News team to give the Cornejos a special Christmas gift.

Specifically, they’ll receive a $5,000 gift card from Ashley Furniture and another $5,000 gift card from Fred Meyer.

They can spend the gift cards on new furniture for their future home and any other necessities.

The Secret Santa also gave them an amazing $10,000 check.

YouTube - East Idaho News
Source:
YouTube - East Idaho News

The news team was on their way to Aberdeen to meet them when they heard that the hard-working couple was watching a movie with their family at the Blackfoot Movie Mills.

They decided to surprise them at the theatre instead.

When they entered the movie theater, the movie had just ended, and the couple was getting ready to leave.

YouTube - East Idaho News
Source:
YouTube - East Idaho News

When news reporter Nate Eaton asked where Sylvia or Sergio were, family members pointed them out sitting at the back of the theatre.

The Cornejo couple looked surprised as they stood up from their seats.

Eaton shared the wonderful news that Sylvia and Sergio had been chosen as the deserving recipients of special gifts from a Secret Santa.

YouTube - East Idaho News
Source:
YouTube - East Idaho News

Eaton then gave them their presents, with each gift card inside a wrapped box.

The Cornejos don’t know how to read in English, so one of their family members helped them read the messages.

As they opened their presents, you could see them shifting from surprised to emotional.

There was not a dry eye in the room as they received their gifts.

YouTube - East Idaho News
Source:
YouTube - East Idaho News

When they received the last gift of $10,000, Sylvia said, “Oh my God, thank you very much. Thank you, everybody, thank you for everything.”

“That’s from one Secret Santa who heard your story and asked us if we could come and surprise you today,” Eaton told them.

Sergio and Sylvia’s family looked on as they received their life-changing gifts.

YouTube - East Idaho News
Source:
YouTube - East Idaho News

“I don’t have any words,” Sergio said while wiping his tears away.

Everyone in the theater was crying with him.

Sergio hugged the whole news team crew after.

“Best ending to a movie ever, right?” Eaton also said, making everyone laugh through their tears.

YouTube - East Idaho News
Source:
YouTube - East Idaho News

We are so happy that Sergio and Sylvia received gifts from their Secret Santa.

They’ve given so much of themselves to their community, and now a Secret Santa gave them life-changing presents to say thank you for all that they’ve done.

This Secret Santa story is a wonderful way to kick-off the holiday season.

Watch the special Secret Santa surprise prepared for loyal school custodians in the video below!

Please SHARE this with your friends and family.

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By Maria Pangilinan
[email protected]
Maria Pangilinan is a contributor at SBLY Media.
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