A "Dear Santa" Christmas Mystery

By Tom Llamas
|  Friday, Dec 11, 2009  |  Updated 8:45 PM EDT
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A "Dear Santa" Christmas Mystery

NBC New York

Melanie (r) and Betsy

When a certain letter came in the mail Gramercy resident Valerie Greenstein noticed something strange.  The envelope didn’t have her name. 

"I thought it was a little sketchy it was all in Spanish but I could make it out it said Dear Santa," said Greenstein.

She had the letter translated and discovered that it was from two little girls in the Bronx. It read: "Santa I’m not going to ask for much.  All I want is a coat for me and one for my sister because we’re really cold at night."

"At first i thought this was a scam.  I’m a New Yorker for 10 years and I’m like, 'somebody is trying to get money from me,'" Greenstein told NBCNewYork.

A reasonable reaction, so, when she told us the return address we tracked it down -- and found the two little Bronx girls who really did need coats.

"It was a letter full of stars," said 4-year-old Melanie Lopez who remembered sending the letter to Santa. "Yes I wanted a coat because I'm cold."

She and her 2-year-old sister Betsy live in one room with their parents in the Grand Concourse section of the Bronx. They don’t have much but they do have a Christmas tree.

"I don't know why I sent it," said the girls' mother Vickie Gutierrez, who helped them write the letter.

In fact they wrote 20 letters. But none to the North Pole -- all went to addresses in Manhattan that the girls' father had randomly collected.

But Greenstein was the only Santa to show any interest. "I was hoping whoever got it would have a good heart," said Gutierrez 

So how did these two little girls in the Bronx find this grown up girl in Gramercy?  Melanie and Betsy’s father works at a West Village restaurant, and came across Valerie’s address. 

 Greenstein and the father have never met-but that’s not stopping her from helping.

"It’s strange and i believe in fate and i would love to help somebody who needs it," she said.

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