Holiday spirit is alive and well -- and spreading like wildfire on the Internet. A group of Redditors have come together to help father of four Michael Corrigan buy Christmas gifts for his children. Now, he's paying it forward, distributing the donations to even more families in need.
It started when Corrigan, who lives in Virginia Beach and goes by ProZacDose on Reddit posted his story, using the forum as a place to vent. He labeled himself a "failure" and explained that after a series of unfortunate events, he is "barely scrapping by" financially. He has been unable to pay his water and electric bills and feared that they would be shut off. With the holidays approaching, Corrigan was devastated that he wouldn't be able to give his kids, ages ages 11, 7, and twin boys who are 3, the kind of Christmas that he had hoped for.
"My kids are asking me why we don't have a Christmas tree? How am I supposed to tell them that we can't afford one?" he asked. "I am dreading Christmas morning, and wish I can just escape all of this."
After reading the post, Redditor girlinthecity decided to lend Corrigan more than just emotional support and offered to help relieve some of his financial stress. She wrote:
I would like to pay for your past due water bill. I am 100% serious. Please PM me to see how we can figure this out. There is no reason your children should have to do without; you are not a failure. So many of us don't realize how easy it is to get into a tough situation. We're all practically one paycheck away from it. Let me help you.
Several other commenters piggybacked on her generosity and offered to pitch in as well. Soon, the community convinced Corrigan to set up a fund on the site Indiegogo that would make it easy for people to donate. He also posted a link to an Amazon Wish List with all of the toys his kids wanted for Christmas. As the fund grew, Corrigan added grateful updates to his original post. And when he received enough money to pay off his water bill and most of his power bill, he shared the heartwarming photo of his children:
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Donations kept pouring in and the fund reached $10,180 before Corrigan discontinued it. He explained in his updates that he was giving the extra money and toys from the Wish List to his brother's family and to others in his community.
"ALL extra money and toys will be going to others so I can spread your love. PLEASE PLEASE help others out here who need it now, let's make this a night amazing for others as well. Thank You for everything," he wrote. He closed the Indiegogo fund and is now directing those who come across the link to SubReddit "assistance" to help others in need.
Almost 2,000 users have commented on Corrigan's original post, many jumping in to donate and several speaking out in awe of how good the power of the Internet can be. Redditor collegemom76 is using the story as a teachable moment.
"As I am reading this through watery eyes to my 12 year old son to explain to him that other kids are less fortunate when he wants every toy shown on TV, He told me to give his presents to your kid," she wrote.