No one likes to work during the holidays.
Abby Meehan, a 16-year-old from Terre Haute, Indiana, was one of the unlucky people working a double shift at Baesler’s Market last Christmas Eve. She was all ready to take her hard-earned paycheck and head home to celebrate with her family.
Little did she know, her paycheck was destined for someone else.
It was the end of Abby’s shift, and a mother named Cory Swetland and her 10-year-old son Jacob checked out at Abby’s register. The boy was dancing around excitedly, and as she was bagging up their groceries, Abby engaged in small talk and asked Jacob what Santa Claus was going to bring him that evening.
It was innocent conversation, she had thought—but she didn’t expect the boy to begin crying. Abby soon realized why.
“His mom turned to me and said, ‘Santa isn’t coming this year, we don’t have enough money for all that,’” Abby told WTHI.
Cory had been suffering heart problems, and the costs meant there was no room for gifts that year.
“I felt like the worst mother not being able to do anything for my kids for Christmas,” Cory told WTHI.
Abby was devastated by this, and her heart went out to the kids who wouldn’t get their Christmas wishes that year.
So she decided to make their wishes come true herself.
“I can’t let that happen,” Cory recalled Abby telling her on line, according to ABC News. “What’s your number?”
Cory assumed she was entering the store’s holiday raffle. She never imagined what Abby really had in store: buying presents for Jacob.
“As soon as I got off I went straight to the store and bought that kid what he said he wanted,” Abby wrote in a Facebook post. “It made me so happy to do this for him.”
She bought a few games he had mentioned, plus candy and cookies from the store.
She spent $75 on the boy—her entire week’s salary.
She brought the gifts over to the Swetland’s house—and the family was thrilled by the Christmas miracle.
“They were just the sweetest family, so grateful for what I brought,” Abby told WTHI. “I knew as soon as I walked in. I was supposed to bring those presents to them.”
The mother was incredibly thankful for the kind gesture. “To see the smile on his face, and all the boys’ faces, made it so worth it for me,” Cory said told WTHI.
“I couldn’t say enough wonderful things about her,” she added to ABC News.
“We’ve been calling her our Christmas angel.”
But that wasn’t the end of it. Abby’s parents were so inspired by their daughter’s actions that they stepped up to help as well. Her mother, Mandy Meehan, spent an additional $200 on presents for Jacob’s brothers.
“I knew I had to do more,” she told ABC News. “I took them around the store and we stocked her up on groceries.”
She added that she was touched by her daughter’s thoughtfulness. “I’m very proud of her, for sure.”
For Abby, it was all a way to get back in touch with the true holiday spirit.
“Waking up on Christmas morning, we always go straight for the presents, but that’s really not what it’s about at all,” Abby told WTHI.
“It’s about giving and for me, giving that was the best Christmas present ever.”
But more than that, it was about making a difference in someone’s life—and creating a lasting friendship with a stranger.
“Now I know that I’ll always have a friend, and he will, and we will never forget each other,” she said to WTHI.