A group of Tennessee third graders is showing what it really means to be good friends.
After Philadelphia Elementary School student Daniel Hunt’s family lost everything in a fire earlier in September, the third grader’s classmates and teachers rallied in support by putting together a secret toy drive for him. They surprised him last Friday, making Daniel so happy that he cried tears of joy.
“Last week, one of our Warriors, Daniel Hunt, lost all of his belongings in a house fire,” the elementary school said in a Facebook post last week.
“His 3rd grade teachers and classmates started a secret toy drive for him to replace the toys he lost,” the post continued, along with several photos from the special moment that Daniel was surprised. “He received the toys today and he was so surprised and thankful! This is certainly one of the #37846Reasons we love PES! #LoveItLiveIt #WarriorNation“
In the photos, Daniel can be seen walking through the classroom door to a table overflowing with new toys, and a bucket full of even more. His classmates all stood together with their hands up to greet their friend.
Philadelphia Elementary School counselor Kelly Jones told ABC News that Daniel — who she described as “one of the most positive, happy students I’ve ever seen” — “was speechless for a minute” after his classmates shouted “surprise!”
After his initial shock, Daniel then said, “‘I love it! Everyone come here,’ with his arms open wide and the kids swarmed in for a large group hug,” Jones said.
“It was amazing to witness the excitement these third grade kids had while sneaking in toys. The entire week, they couldn’t love him enough,” Jones told the outlet of the sweet act of kindness, adding that after his family lost their house to a fire on September 21, students across the school were going out of their way to cheer Daniel up.
“People were holding doors for him, getting his pencil ready for him each morning, taking his chair down from the desk for him to sit in and swarming him at recess,” she added.
In one photo, Daniel stands in front of the huge pile with a huge smile on his face — he later told his grandmother, Marsha Hunt, that the surprise left him “happy crying,” and with “joy in my stomach,” ABC News said.
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“I love that his friends gave from their heart to this special little grandson,” she said on Facebook. “They were so excited to give! He has looked at each and every toy, big and small, and he loves them all. Thank you so much!!!!!!”
Jones added that “every adult and even a few students had tears swelling up in their eyes who were in the room to witness this. I feel extremely blessed to have witnessed the pure love and giving from the hearts of the 3rd grade students at my school last week.”