ATLANTA - FOX 5 viewers showed up in full force on the doorstep of a heartbroken family Friday, to spread holiday cheer and make sure a five-year-old boy had presents for Christmas.
The overwhelming response came after FOX 5 aired a story Thursday about how a family made a terrible Christmas discovery: thieves broke into their home and stole most of the presents from under the tree. Our station received numerous calls minutes later and through Friday, from people wanting to help.
The family's devastation turned to joy, as viewers, firefighters and a U.S. Marine Corps family brought bags full of toys for the little boy.
"Completely overwhelmed. Thank you everybody that has taken the time to help Adrian out for Christmas," said mom Kayla Johnson.
"Hearing little kids say [thank you], that just makes my day," said U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Major Gregory Mitchell, who brought toys on behalf of the Combat Logistics Regimen 45's Toys for Tots program.
"Today is a good day... I want to thank all y'all,"said a beaming Adrian Dennis.
His mood was brightened vastly from the day before, when he came home to a disheartening sight.
"They almost ruined my Christmas," said Dennis on Thursday. His family tells me, the thieves swiped $400 worth of presents that were mostly meant for him, from a PlayStation 4, games, Legos, and other toys.
Atlanta Police said the ordeal happened sometime after the family left their home Thursday morning near Moreland Avenue and Constitution Road SE, and went to their son's Christmas program at school. The family came home to find the window curtains disheveled, a dent in their wall, and most of the presents missing.
"I was hoping it was a bad joke... when I realized it was for real, I just didn't know what to do. We worked so hard," said father Shawn Dennis, who was heartbroken for his son.
Their heartbreak didn't last for long: Adrian's parents said his school presented him with a new bike, and strangers started to stop by their house with cards and well wishes.
FOX 5 was there as Atlanta firefighters showed up with toys, including a fire truck to replace the one that was stolen.
"We don't do this job for life threatening emergencies. We do this to help the community," said Captain Arzell Bostick.
"My boys-- they would be heartbroken if that happened to them," said firefighter Sanchez Minor.
The firefighters also presented the parents with gift cards.