A touching video taken in the wake of Hurricane Harvey has captured the moment that the generosity of a child moved a Texan father who lost everything to tears.
Michael Orta’s house in Port Arthur was destroyed during Hurricane Harvey, with his five-year-old son Maddox’s precious Woody doll found floating in stagnant waters.
Orta, a sports photographer, returned to their house in Port Arthur after being stuck in Houston to find it destroyed, having filled with four feet of water. When he began to clean, that’s when he found the Woody doll - Maddox’s favorite.
“I remember seeing him floating in the water. And that was the most devastating thing. Not the fact I lost my television and my home and everything we worked for - it was that one little image….seeing that Woody hat floating upside down,” Orta said.
But when Michael took Maddox on Saturday to help others affected by the storm by unloading a truck full of goods donated from New York, they were met with a surprise: a Woody doll hanging out of a donated backpack. And along with the doll, a little handwritten note in a snaplock bag. It read: “Praying things get better for you all. Woody is very special to Xander so I hope whoever gets him gives him a loving home.”
Orta couldn’t believe his eyes.“This was a God thing,” he said.As the organizer of the donation drop at Provost Umphrey Law Firm, Damon West, took video live on Facebook, Orta picked up Maddox and broke down.
“I was overwhelmed,” he said. “I couldn't believe it this boy took it upon himself to give his Woody doll to another kid. It was a magical moment, the perfect example of being nice to one another,” he said.
West said watching the moment was incredibly moving for him. “I was watching Maddox and looking at his reaction and I thought, little kids don't see their parents vulnerable like that, and I went back and you can see it was a look of confusion - he’s trying to register his daddy breaking down.
“I don't think kids are built to understand that, and thank God they don't have to understand everything their parents are going through.”
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West had been liaising with people from all around the country to bring donations to Texas. The truck that brought the Woody doll was driven down by Daniel Veno and Dan Spring, two men from Olean, upstate New York.
Spring described how they came across the doll that made Maddox's day: "So this little boy came up to me and said his name was Xander and wanted to donate his favorite toy Woody to a boy in Texas that lost everything. It made my heart explode with joy. With the help of his grandma they wrote a letter to the boy who got it," he said.
"To see someone so young giving his favorite thing to someone is quite remarkable," Veno added.
Since taking his new Woody doll home to his new home at Orta’s sister’s house, Maddox has slept with it every night, his father said. Maddox now wants to meet Xander, who is from Duke Center, Pennsylvania, and say thank you.