A mother and her 4-year-old son were on the brink of homelessness, until a good Samaritan stepped in to offer a much-needed helping hand.
Paul Zappitelli, owner of Zappi’s Italian Garden in Daytona Beach, Florida, stepped in to help Amber Johnston and her son, Anthony Romeo, after seeing a report about the pair on the local news, according to WKMG-TV.
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Local reporter Treasure Roberts was conducting interviews on declining rent prices in the Orlando area when she interviewed Johnston, who was staying at an extended-stay hotel with her son, because it was all she could afford.
The struggling mother explained to Roberts her son’s father had left her, rendering them “completely devastated” and out of options. Johnston took her son to the hotel’s lobby, where he picked one gift from the toy drive, because she could not afford any gifts for her son.
“I saw that little boy running over to Santa, and I just, I just teared over,” Zappitelli told WKMG-TV after watching the local report. “I went: ‘Oh my gosh, that’s horrible.'”
Moved by Johnston’s plight, the restauranteur said she and her son could live in one of his condos rent-free for two months. He even ensured the refrigerator was stocked with food and that more toys were awaiting Anthony on Christmas morning.
Johnston had posted on social media that she had been hoping for a “Christmas miracle” — and that is exactly what she got.
Zappitelli is also considering bringing Johnston on as one of his restaurant employees.
“I just felt that I was so blessed that I had to share,” he said of his kind-hearted gestures.
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