FORT COLLINS, COLORADO - When 6-year-old Tarryn Henkelman rummaged through a giant blue bin filled with toys, she knew exactly what she wanted.
When she and her parents walked out of the Goodwill on Pavilion Lane, she held a folded-up blue scooter tightly to her chest. Her old scooter recently broke, and she wanted to zip around her neighborhood on two wheels once again.
She hadn't walked into the store expecting a present, but as she and her family walked through the aisles they got a holiday surprise when Todd Wakefield, Goodwill's Senior Director of Retail, got on the intercom and delivered some good news.
"All kids today, all day long, you get one free toy, free stuffed animal or free kids book," he said, announcing a special treat made possible by an anonymous donor.
For nearly a decade, one Fort Collins man has cut a check covering the cost of every toy in the store, so that any child who walks through the front doors can pick out something to take home for free.
He said he does not need recognition for his act of kindness, but said that this day has become an important part of his family's Christmas tradition. As kids crowded around plastic bins overflowing with toys, he and his wife quietly took in the scene before slipping out the front door, unnoticed.
This year, he recruited several local Fort Collins businesses, including Aspen Speech Therapy and Cosner Financial Group, to add to the donation.
Store staff members set aside extra toys in the days leading up to the surprise giveaway to make sure that no child left empty handed on Saturday. Wakefield was especially excited about a large donation of brand-new educational books, neatly stacked on shelves next to the store's toy bins.
Wakefield was the store manager at the Fort Collins Goodwill the first year the anonymous donor walked through the doors and asked to buy out the toy section. Even though Wakefield has since taken a job at Goodwill's corporate office, he made a point to come to this year's event, he said.
"We've got some amazing people throughout our community," he said. "This is what our business is run on, people willing to give and to help their community."
The Coloradoan, USA Today Network