Randy Heiss was hiking with his dog in Patagonia, Arizona, just a few miles from the US-Mexico border, when he discovered a deflated red balloon with a note addressed to santa attached to it, CNN reported.
The note was written in Spanish by Dayami, 8, and listed all the Christmas wishes she intended to tell Santa. Mr Heiss asked his wife to translate the note to find out the 8-year-old girl wished for toys, clothes, magic markers, paints and a colouring book for Christmas this year.
The last line stood out the most to Mr Heiss. It read, “Traeme lo que tu puedas”, which translates to “Bring me what you can”.
“It was a kid’s Christmas wish. You can’t turn away from that,” Mr Heiss told CNN. “Some little kid put that list out there in good faith, hoping someone would fulfil it and so I just knew I had to do everything I could to fulfil that list.”
Mr Heiss figured the note was likely released from Nogales, Mexico, which is about 20 miles south from where he was hiking. So, he contacted Cesar Barron, a radio host at XENY in Nogales, asking for help in finding Dayami.
Soon after, the radio station were able to find the father of Dayami, who indeed lives in Nogales, and set up a chance for the two to meet at the station.
Mr Heiss and his wife Marcela met with Dayami, including her younger sister Ximena, to deliver the presents. The couple presented the girls with items from the Christmas wish list including art supplies and a doll house.
The girl’s parents, Cristian and Damalis Leiva, told Mr Barron, the radio host, that the girls were partaking in a Christmas tradition. Every year, the girls and their cousins would write two letters addressed to Santa. One of the letters are attached to the tree, and the others are tied to a red balloon and released in the air. This year, Dayami’s wishlist travelled all the way to Patagonia.
“Someone told me they were looking for my daughter on Facebook, and her name is not very common. After seeing the post, I knew that was my daughter’s letter. We had the same letter on our Christmas tree,” Cristian Leiva said in a video of the meeting between Mr Heiss’s family and the girls.
“Although we live in different countries, they didn’t think, ‘Oh they live there, and we live here,’ they just knew we are all one community, we are all equal, and all human beings. This shows that there really are good people in the world.”
For Mr Heiss and his wife, this was an opportunity for them to celebrate Christmas with children, something they never had the chance to have since their son passed away and have no grandchildren.
“We don’t have grandchildren in our future, and so really getting to share Christmas with kids was something that’s been missing in our lives,” Mr Heiss said.
“Love has no borders,” he added. “That wall melted away for the day.”
Join our new commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies