A girl was looking for a specific toy truck for her brother. Reddit came through big time.

Cassie Gretschel and her little brother, Max, have a wonderful Christmas tradition.

All photos by Cassie Gretschel used with permission

Gretschel says Max, who is 25, has severe mental and physical disabilities, including Cerebral Palsy and scoliosis. She writes that his brain development is on par with a 5-year-old, and that he has impaired vision and spends most of his time in a wheelchair.


And there's only one thing Max wants for Christmas — the same thing he asks for every year: A police Hummer Tonka truck. In blue.

"Max thinks that the Tonka Police Hummer is the holy grail of all toys," Gretschel says in an email. "It's not too loud, it lights up, it's big without being too big and it goes forwards and backwards slowly with the flip of a lever. It also has a winch and hook that wind and unwind with a lever. For someone visually and mobily [sic] impaired, it's fun and very simple to operate."

Gretschel and her family have given Max a new version of the same truck every year since it first came out in 2000. There's just one problem — the toy has since been discontinued, and Max's family had already gathered up all the models they could find on eBay and other internet auction sites.

That meant Max was at risk of facing his first Christmas in 17 years without a new truck for collection.

The red ones just aren't the same, according to Max.

Desperate, Gretschel posted her story to Reddit, along with a request.

"I figured that maybe a couple redditors might have had the truck as a kid and would be willing to sell them to me for some extra Christmas cash," she says.

In her post, she describes Max's love for the truck and ends with a reasonable call-to-action: "If anyone has one of these in their attics, please throw it on eBay!"

The internet community, however, was about to do her one better.

Gretschel woke up the next day to discover that her post had gone massively viral. She says her inbox was flooded with notes from people who wanted to help.

The generous offers poured in from around the globe offered, as redditors offered not just to give Max the Hummer toy he wanted, but to take him on a ride in a real Hummer. Others wanted to donate Amazon gift cards so Cassie could buy him something else.

Still more felt the urge to share their support and love for Gretschel on her quest to bring her little brother some joy.

As her story continued to spread, Cassie finally got an answer to her obscure and unlikely request: As of this writing, she says she has received six of the trucks from redditors — including one still in its box.

Tonka themselves even got involved after being overwhelmed with messages, and while they haven't tracked down any blue hummers just yet, they have offered to repaint a red one for Max and send it along.

They're even looking into getting new blue ones manufactured so the tradition never has to end. (But the Grestchel's better stock up — Cassie tells Buzzfeed that Max likes to get a new truck on his birthday, too.)

**UPDATE** Thank you all so much for your help! We have been able to contact the author and are making...

Posted by Tonka on Wednesday, November 29, 2017

The way thousands of strangers on the internet came through for Max is a true holiday miracle.

Even though it's great to hear about how all the Tonka trucks for Max to enjoy, the mere fact that so many strangers came together to give someone they've never met a great holiday surprise might be the most inspiring part of the whole story.

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Courtesy of Macy's

In many ways, 18-year-old Idaho native, Hank Cazier, is like any other teenager you've met. He loves chocolate, pop music, and playing games with his family. He has lofty dreams of modeling for a major clothing company one day. But one thing that sets him apart may also jeopardize his future is his recent battle against a brain tumor.

Cazier was diagnosed in 2015. When he had surgery to remove the tumor, he received trauma to his brain and lost some of his motor functionality. He's been in physical, occupational, and speech therapy ever since. The experience impacted Cazier's confidence and self-esteem, so he's been looking for a way to build himself back up again.

"I wanted to do something that helped me look forward to the future," he says.

Enter Make-A-Wish, a nonprofit organization that grants wishes for children battling critical illnesses, providing them a chance to make the impossible possible. The organization partnered with Macy's to raise awareness and help make those wishes a reality. The hope is that the "wish effect" will improve their quality of life and empower them with the strength they need to overcome these illnesses and look towards the future. That was a particularly big deal for Cazier, who had been feeling like so many of his wishes weren't going to be possible because of his critical illness.

"In the beginning, it was hard to accept that it would be improbable for me to accomplish my previous goals because my illness took away so many of my physical abilities," says Cazier. His wish of becoming a model also seemed out of reach.

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Courtesy of Macy's

Make-A-Wish can't fulfill children's wishes without the generosity of donors and partners like Macy's. In fact, since 2003, Macy's has given more than $122 million to Make-A-Wish and impacted the lives of more than 2.9 million people.

Cazier's wish experience was beyond what he could've imagined, and it filled him with so much joy and confidence. "It is like waking up and discovering that you have super powers. It feels amazing!" he exclaims.

One of the best parts about the day for him was the kindness everyone who helped make it happen showed him.

"The employees of Macy's and Make-A-Wish made me feel welcome, warm, and cared for," he says. "I am truly grateful that even though they were busy doing their jobs, they were able to show kindness and compassion towards me in all of the little details."

He also got to spend part of the shoot outdoors, which, as someone who loves climbing, hiking, and scuba-diving but has trouble doing those activities now, was very welcome.

Courtesy of Macy's

Overall, Cazier feels he grew a lot during his modeling wish and is now emboldened to work towards a better quality of life. "I want to acquire skills that help me continue to improve in these circumstances," he says.

You can change the lives of more kids like Cazier just by writing a letter to Santa and dropping it in the big red letterbox at Macy's (you can also write and submit one online). For every letter received before Dec. 24, 2019, Macy's will donate $1 to Make-A-Wish, up to $1 million. By writing a letter to Santa, you can help a child replace fear with confidence, sadness with joy, and anxiety with hope.

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