A “feel good” Christmas story is usually the work of talented writers weaving a fictitious heartwarming story somewhere in Hollywood during the holiday season, perhaps appearing on a Hallmark Channel.
However, this particular Christmas tale is true. Two tiny 4-year old twins in Liberal, Kansas, decided to do something special during the 2020 holiday season because of the unprecedented pandemic lockdowns.
Faced with a somewhat gloomy Christmas away from loved ones, Leticia Flores-Gonzalez thought it would be a great idea for her young twin daughters, Luna and Gianella, to write their Christmas list letter to Santa. They then attached the letter to several colored balloons and sent them off to the “North Pole.”
Little did Gonzalez realize at the time, one of those balloons would travel nearly 650 miles. The letter made it’s way over power lines, through rainstorms and gusty winds, and eventually end-up tangled in a downed tree in a field somewhere in Louisiana.
There it stayed, deflated and entwined within the branches of the tree until hunter Alvin Bamburg spotted the colorful plastic balloon flapping in the wind.
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“I saw that balloon and God spoke to me,” Bamburg told CNN. “He said: ‘You need to get this, and, second of all, you need to get the trash out of the woods.
“When I got it I noticed a folded yellow piece of paper sealed with a red star, and it was a Christmas list from a girl named Luna.”
Here is where it becomes a “Hallmark story.” Most of us would simply read the note and immediately realize there was no forwarding address or phone number within the Christmas list and we’d probably discard it. That is not what happened in this case. Bamburg along with his wife Lee Ann decided to somehow track Luna down and make sure she got every item on her Christmas list.
The couple figured the best way to find her would be through social media so they quickly posted their find on Facebook, asking friends to spread the word. Bamburg posted, “Would love to know when it was launched. Looks like it traveled over 600 miles. Feel free to share.”
The post went viral and ultimately reached Luna and Gianella’s mother, Leticia.
“When we found out someone actually found Luna’s balloon, we were just in shock,” Flores-Gonzalez told CNN. “We couldn’t believe how kind people were; we were overwhelmed with love. That’s what really mattered.”
Luna’s Christmas list included; candy, a Spiderman ball, a Frozen doll, a puppy and a My Little Pony.
Bamburg acknowledged, “All my friends started saying, ‘I’d like to donate this,’ or ‘I’d like to donate that.’ And we got all the gifts, however the puppy was the hardest to find.”
It took awhile, but in April the Bamburg’s finally found the perfect puppy for Luna and her twin sister. He and his wife, along with the Gonzalez family, had decided to meet in person at the halfway mark in Oklahoma where he could give the puppy to Luna.
“I just felt like they were family now,” Bamburg said. “When they took the puppy, they just showered us with food and gifts. And we’re going back up there in about a month or two. We’re going to give them some Louisiana treats.”
“To us, it isn’t the amount of gifts or the value that the girls are receiving,” Flores-Gonzalez said. “It’s the love they received. It meant the world to us we see their smiles, and the lifelong friendship we have made with Alvin and his wife.”