A Secret Santa has given a widower raising seven children by himself a gift of $10,000 for the holidays.
Dakota Nelson has been working three part-time jobs to make ends meet. His wife Ream, 38, died in September after being found unconscious outside of their Ashton, Idaho home. She had been in a coma since July, according to the East Idaho News.
"We were working in the garage, goofing around and having fun, and I came back and she just was dead on the ground basically," Nelson told the website.
It's been a challenging year, but Nelson said he's counting his blessings.
As Christmas approaches, the family is still dealing with the loss of their mother. The children are aged one through 16.
The website reported the Secret Santa asked them to deliver the gift to Nelson and his children. They received $2,000 in gift cards and an $8,000 check.
Nelson was overcome by emotion when he saw the amount of the check. He cried as a photographer for the website captured the scene.
A GoFundMe account has been set up for the family. It has raised more than $40,000 in four months.
"It is hard to write this as I am at a total loss of words. There is no way for me to accurately convey how grateful we are for this kindness. As I was surprised with the gifts, I looked at my kids – who will remember this event forever as the best time they had in a hard time. Thank you for being an example to my family on how to look out for the needs of others.
I have noticed that through this ordeal, we have been blessed to see kindness replace the pain of losing a loved one whom I had been married to for 17 years. My children have noted this and have stated that they want to do the same for others.
Thank you again for making this Christmas special.
Again, I just cannot convey how thankful we are but let me provide you with a few more details of the story.
On July 11, we had been cleaning out the garage together and I left to put some tools in the shop 30 feet away while Ream swept the floor. I had been gone less than 5 minutes and saw her lying on her back with eyes wide open. My 3-year-old was standing over her talking as he thought she could hear him due to her eyes being open.
I ran and cradled her in my arms and blew into her mouth thinking she choked on something. I then started CPR and my 8-year-old walked out and started screaming. I told him to leave and my 12-year-old walked in the garage and, seeing the situation, called 911 and put on a show so the other kids would not go out to see her. He then went down to the end of the street to wave down the ambulance.
After two and a half weeks at Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center in ICU, she was moved to long-term care and we watched her pass away on Sept. 30 with all of her 7 kids gathered around. Her body had become septic and she had no hope of recovery. I wanted her to pull out of it so badly but it was not to be.
I know no one makes it through life without some sort of event that is strenuous to the soul but I had not realized how much one can be happy even when the light is out and it is dark. Thank you for being that light."