Photo: Facebook screenshot
A series of incredible events have shaped the story of Brendan Haas, the 9-year old boy from Massachusetts who captured hearts this past week.First, he tried out a Facebook experiment, relying on total strangers to propel his dream forward.
Inspired by the story of the guy who, through a series of trades, turned a paper clip into a house, Haas started with a toy soldier and eventually traded up to $900 worth of Disney gift certificates, airfare and hotel credits.
He got that ultimate “trade up” — the all-expense paid Disney vacation — just before Memorial Day, honouring those who wore the uniform and gave their lives in the line of duty.
It was a heartwarming coincidence:
Brendan’s idea was to end the trade with a pay-it-forward kind of deed — he wanted to give the dream holiday to the family of a fallen Soldier.
On Memorial Day, Haas gave the trip to the family of U.S. Army Lt. Timothy Steele, a 25-year-old soldier killed in Afghanistan last year. According to NBC’s WHDH-TV affiliate, Haas pulled the name of Liberty Hope Steele, the fallen soldier’s now-2-year-old daughter, out of a hat and surprised the Steele family at their Duxbury, Mass., home.
Photo: West Point
But the story doesn’t end there.
As ABC News pointed out, it was as if fate had played its hand.
“The things Tim had in his pockets when he died were a St. Christopher’s Medal, a picture of his family, and a post it note with the words ‘red paperclip’,” his mother, Mary Ellen Steele, said to ABC.
It appeared that 1st Lieutenant Timothy Steele, before he was killed, knew about the “trade up” concept last year.
It ended up being the exact same thing 9-year old Brendan Haas did this year, resulting in the gift presented to Steele’s daughter Liberty Hope.
The story made national television and became all the more heartwarming by what happened on Good Morning America.
So impressed by Brendan’s generosity, the Walt Disney company presented Brendan with his own all-expense paid trip to Disney World.
But as he sat there — via Skype video, with his over-joyed parents audible in the background of their home — he calmly replied that he wasn’t going to accept the gift, surprising his parents.
“We have many more people who would like to have an all-expenses paid trip, so we’ll have another raffle.”
The Good Morning America host couldn’t help but laugh, saying she knew he’d do that — and that the trip was indeed transferable to someone else.
Brendan said he felt like he was a messenger for God. And is just happy that he can make other people happy.
He’s received a flood of well-wishes on his Facebook page, and has become known as a little hero for what he’s doing for military families. But it’s his modesty that really shines.
“Thank you for all your support! I can’t believe all the nice comments, emails, and phone calls. I am going to try to reply individually to everyone but I am still in school and Mrs. Smith still gave me homework tonight :)
“I think that I learned that it takes a whole army not just one soldier, everyone who helped spread the word, supported me, and traded, and entered my raffle helped me reach my goal. There are two words I want to say to you all-THANK YOU. -Brendan Haas”
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