A young Las Vegas mother was overwhelmed with joy and gratitude when all her vacation dreams came true thanks to a local media team and a caring community.
A Las Vegas mom with a tough upbringing
Stéphanie Rivera has never had it easy. After losing her own mother when she was just seven years old, she bounced from family to family, never really fitting in. Because of this, she never got to experience the magic of Christmas like many of us did.
RELATED: Elderly woman loses husband and home on same day – neighbor’s response surprises her
When Stephanie had her own children as a teenager, she struggled to stay afloat financially. Given their limited resources, the family, which eventually grew to include three children, was never able to celebrate Christmas properly. When it came to choosing between keeping the lights on or giving presents under the Christmas tree, Stephanie always chose the essentials and the magic of Christmas faded away.
“My childhood was quite difficult,” Rivera explained. “My mum died when I was 7. I grew up family after family and every time I went on it was just a new home I had to go to so I never really got to make Christmas. “
A life-changing Christmas for Stephanie
When an anonymous friend sent a letter outlining Stephanie’s troubles to her local Fox station, the producers decided to give Stephanie a break. Anchor Monica Jackson chose Stephanie as the recipient of the channel award Fox5 Surprise Squad North Pole Operation. The program brings holiday cheer and Christmas surprises to deserving families who live at or below the poverty line. The cast and crew, dressed as Santa Claus and elves, showed up at Stephanie’s to surprise her.
RELATED: 14 years after receiving Christmas present, woman marries stranger who sent her
Everyone then sat down together and Stephanie started opening the presents the crew had brought her. She opened tickets to Fox5’s annual family event and a $500 gift card to Albertson’s grocery store. Stephanie then saw that she had also received $2,000 in gift money from the children as well as a $3,000 scholarship, which would allow her to complete her beautician program and support her family in long term. She couldn’t believe her luck.
“Why would you give up in life when you have a whole life ahead of you and you have young people looking up to you?” said Stephanie. “There’s just no giving up when you’re a mother.”
Her gratitude moved her to tears
Stephanie cried with abandonment and thanked the Fox5 team again and again for what they had done for her. She was overwhelmed with emotion. Not only was she going to be able to give her children an incredible Christmas, but she was finally experiencing the magic of Christmas for herself! It’s amazing to see such a moment unfold. It’s always possible to have a positive impact on the people in need around us – and it’s always worth it!