Two-year-old Braxton Wells, found the present at Glenwood Cemetery in Fort Payne, Alabama, on Dec. 25, just eight months after his dad, Cody Wells, 23, died in a car crash.
“It was wonderful because my son, he’s been a very unhappy little boy for a long time and when he saw that present, he was ecstatic, smiling from ear to ear,” Braxton’s mom, Danielle Ogle of Fort Payne, Alabama
Ogle, 24, said her fiancé, a corrections officer with the Fort Payne Police Department, died off-duty on April 3 after his vehicle hit a tree.
Since that day, she and Braxton visit Wells’ gravesite daily at lunchtime. Ogle leaves toy cars behind at Wells’ headstone so Braxton can play with them and be reminded of his dad, she said.
“Cody had the biggest heart,” Ogle said. “He would go out of his way for anybody and wouldn’t want anything in return. The bond between him and Braxton was unbelievable. The way he loved Braxton was just not something you see every day.”
Chris Blake, 33, sets monuments part-time for Wilson Funeral Home in Fort Payne. He installed Wells’ specialized gravestone on Christmas Eve.
That day, Blake met Ogle and Braxton and later reached out to Ogle through a mutual friend, asking to leave a surprise Christmas gift for the boy.
“When we pulled up to the graveyard, he immediately saw the present and took off running,” Ogle said. “The first words he said were, ‘Mommy, I can’t wait to see what my daddy has left me.’ He told me that he thought his daddy flew down from heaven and left him a present.”
Blake said he left Braxton Hot Wheels after noticing the ones at the grave had been broken up by a mower, he told ABC News.
Blake said seeing the two at the cemetery struck a chord.
“I heard that little voice and it broke my heart because I had been that little boy before,” he added. “My dad died when I was 4, so I’ve been that little boy visiting his dad’s grave on Christmas so it just tore me up. The little boy is amazing. He has a lot of people who care for him and he doesn’t even realize it yet.”
Blake hopes leaving gifts for Braxton will become a community Christmas tradition, he said.