This is a true story. It happened 5 years ago.
I met a little girl named Heather. She is 8 years old. Heather did not have a Christmas. I don't mean Heather had a bad Christmas, I mean Heather did not have any Christmas. She did not get so much as a candy cane for Christmas. She is a sweet child with long, blonde hair and very quiet and mannerly. She is shy. When you ask her if she wants something she is afraid to say, "yes".
Her mommy is a crack head. Her daddy is a drunk. I met her on New Year's Eve at her uncle's house. She was having a good time playing on the computer and her uncle bought her a personal pan pizza and went to Rite Aid and bought her some play dough. When I walked into the house he pulled me aside and told me what was going on. He did not know what to do for her. I had not planned to have a child in the house so I went digging through my Christmas stuff (I have entirely too much) and started giving her what I could find.
She was appreciative of every little item down to the candy canes that I let her have off the tree. Fortunately I had not taken it down yet. She would run to her daddy and show him every little thing. She was just tickled pink as only little 8 year old girls can be. Her drunken daddy would slur and paw over "my little girl" and go on about how much he loved her. Heather does not know that real daddies don't act like that. I kept her distracted all evening.
New Year's morning I woke up and went to the local dollar store, they had toys half price. I got Heather a few things. In fact I got her more than I could afford and I was afraid I would have to take some of it back. I woke her uncle up when I got home and told him what I had done. He immediately went to his wallet and paid for everything. He was grateful. He said he just didn't know how to shop for a little girl. I wrapped up the presents and we circled them around Heather and woke her up. Apparently Santa had come that night and left her presents there at her uncle's house because he couldn't find her on Christmas Eve.
Heather's eyes were shining and she was laughing and playing. Her daddy got up and cracked open his first beer of the day. She had pumpkin pie for breakfast because everybody knows you can eat anything you want on a holiday. She played for hours with the few toys I got. I know a lot of kids who would throw a tantrum over the little presents I bought for her that day.
Heather was happy.
The next day I went to work. I work at Fruth Pharmacy. The pay sucks but this is the reason I work there. I started to tell my coworkers about Heather. My coworkers are mothers. Within a few hours we had her a smorgasbord of toys - even a few regular customers pitched in some money when they found out what we were doing. When I left Fruth that night I had 4 bags of toys and candy and toiletries hand picked for an 8 year old girl. In a few days there will be some clothes for Heather too. This is not the first time my friends and I have run into a child in trouble and everybody chipped in to help.
Now Heather had a Christmas. It was 10 days late. The hard part is yet to come. I will try to turn her parents in. Not having a Christmas is only a small problem in this child's life. As of today no one has seen her mom since Christmas Eve. It is presumed she is off on a crack binge somewhere. When her uncle took her presents to her, her daddy was still drunk. He has not drawn a sober breath in days. I'm not talking just drunk. I'm talking pissing on yourself, can't walk across the room drunk. Can't even get yourself another beer drunk. I am disgusted I have to do something or I won't be able to live with myself.
I tried to call Heather's school. The woman I talked to was not interested in even looking for her with the little bit of information that I could provide.
I could not find Heather after that. I don't know where she is now.