Stories of strangers rallying around strangers for no reason other than to be kind are our favorite kinds of stories. If you love them too, this one is especially sweet! It starts with a young boy named Jonas who was about to turn five, and his mother, Tiffany Holloway, who wanted to give him a happy birthday, despite her circumstances.
Knowing that Jonas’ birthday was coming up, Tiffany wondered what he might want for a gift. Knowing his love for the ocean, she wasn’t surprised when he mentioned wanting a manta ray stuffed animal. With the best of inventions, Tiffany headed online to look for the perfect rendition, only to find that she wouldn’t be able to afford any of the options available to her.
“I saw that I had only $2,” she told The Washington Post. “There was no way I could afford even the cheapest manta ray that I saw for $20.”
Luckily, Tiffany was resourceful and wasn’t ready to disappoint her son on his special day. So she decided to take matters into her own hands and craft him a hand-made manta ray of her own. After drawing out the pattern for her stuffed animal, she found some thread, a needle, and one of her son’s old blankets, and got to work.
Tiffany told The Washington Post, “I sat on the couch until one in the morning, poking myself with that needle until I’d finally finished sewing it together. I took two buttons off one of my blouses and used those for eyes.”
After completing her project, Tiffany found herself so impressed by the outcome of her hard work that she shared about it on Reddit’s poverty/finance page, stating “My son wanted a stuffed manta ray for hi 5th birthday but I didn’t have the money to buy one, so instead I converted his old baby blanket into one!”
Whatever her expectations were when posting, Tiffany was not prepared for the flood of support she would receive. When she woke the next morning, she had over 66,000 likes, with hundreds of comments filled with kind words.
“It looks great,” said one comment. “And so much more special than store-bought. He’ll love and cherish it I’m sure!
Another comment read, “It’s awesome! And you making it for him shows how much you love him! He’s lucky to have you! Happy birthday to your little man!”
Others offered to help, asking if they could mail Jonas stuffed manta rays of their own, and soon packages were being delivered to her home. Tiffany told The Washington Post that Jonas received about 150 manta rays in total. The kindness of these strangers allowed her to give her son a present a day leading up to his birthday, making for one special celebration indeed!
When his big day finally came, Tiffany gave Jonas the manta ray that she had made him which proved to be his favorite of all. Since then, Jonas has insisted on sleeping with all of his stuffed manta ray gifts each night. Tiffany told The Washington Post, “They’re piled everywhere on his bed.” She went on to express her gratitude, stating, “I’ve never seen him so happy – I can’t thank people enough for making him feel special.”
As always, we’re so impressed and inspired by the kindness of strangers. It’s easy to get caught up in the small inconveniences and frustrations of day-to-day life, but it’s stories like this that remind us: by lifting others’ spirits, we lift our own. And we’re grateful for the reminder!