From time to time, Tina Jeffries, a clerk in Akron Children’s mailroom, receives a letter with an incorrect address. But when she received one about a week before Christmas addressed to Santa Claus in a child’s handwriting she knew that instead of following the usual “return to sender” process she had best open it.
The letter was from 6-year-old Marcellis Davis, of Akron, telling Santa he had been a good boy this year and requesting about 5 toys for Christmas. Tina knew she had the means to be Santa’s helper so she set out to complete his wish list.
She had fun buying a Batman action figure set, a fidget spinner, a Thomas the Tank train set, while also adding coloring books, a puzzle of the 50 states and a few other educational toys.
Relying on the return address, she made the trek to the Davis home, not far from her own, to deliver the gifts on Dec. 23. When no one answered the door, she left them by the front door with a note saying she was glad to be one of Santa’s helpers this year.
On the next day, Christmas Eve, Dominque Johnson discovered the wrapped gifts on her porch and was overwhelmed with gratitude for her son’s Secret Santa.
She posted a note of appreciation on her Facebook page, which was spotted by editors at WJW TV (Fox 8) in Cleveland, who contacted her with interest in doing a story.
When the story aired, Tina immediately received calls from relatives urging her to turn on the news. She saw Marcellis and his brother, Xavier, playing with the toys she bought and their parents’ gratitude and interest in learning who had received and acted upon the wayward letter.
Tina contacted the TV station to reveal herself and Fox 8 reporter Jennifer Jordan arranged for Dominque and Marcellis to meet Tina in person in the Akron Children’s mailroom on Wednesday. Marcellis was clutching his new Batman action figure.
After lots of hugs, Tina told Dominque she was glad to help.
“In enjoyed it,” she said. “I was happy to help a child and bring some joy. His letter touched me deeply. I am glad it came here by accident.”
Dominique explained that after spending a Saturday in December baking Christmas cookies with her boys, they wrote their letters to Santa. Dominque wrote the address of her mother’s house on Nicholas Avenue in Akron but, on the one letter, must have written the wrong house number and it was a house number that does not exist. And of all places, it ended up in the mailroom of Akron Children’s and in Tina’s hands.
Both Dominque and Tina believe the mistake was meant to be.
“I would do it again,” Tina said of her Secret Santa role. “We need more happiness in the world right now.”
Watch the Fox 8 story below: