The story of a 4-year-old’s friendship with a real life "fairy" is going viral on social media.
Over the weekend, Kelly Kenney, a photographer based in Los Angeles, took to Twitter to document the tale of the magical bond she shares with a 4-year-old girl she met through a fairy garden in her neighborhood.
It all started in April during the beginning of the pandemic, when Kenney stumbled upon a fairy garden while on a walk.
“I was walking down my street and noticed that someone had set up a few little objects in a tree planter, and upon closer inspection I realized it was a fairy garden with a little note about the 4-year-old girl who felt lonely in quarantine and wanted to spread some cheer,” Kenney wrote on Twitter.
The next day, Kenney said she wrote a note back pretending to be a fairy named Sapphire who had come to live in the tree. The note included a set of tasks for the 4-year-old girl to complete if she wanted to earn “magical fairy dice” as a gift.
The tasks that Kenney asked were to “say five nice things to people you love, do three helpful things for someone in need, promise to always be kind and brave, and to show love to those in need and to draw a picture of your favorite animal so she could show the other fairies.”
Kenney said she wasn’t sure if the girl would respond, but the next night, she found a reply with all the tasks completed and found out the 4-year-old’s name was Eliana. As promised, Kenney came back and left the magic fairy dice as a reward along with a note for the girl’s parents.
For months during the pandemic, Kenney kept the correspondence going with Eliana even when Kenney moved away from the neighborhood in June. She still kept coming back to the fairy garden each night to reply back to Eliana’s letters.
“I was going through a really hard time,” Kenney told “Good Morning America.” “I didn’t even realize at first how much it lifted my spirits. ... Once I realized that I was coming home with a purpose every night and started doing this, I realized it was actually doing a lot for me also. And I was like, I had things to look forward to. I was excited to do something.”
Eliana's mom, Emily, said the friendship has also left a lasting impact on her daughter and that her imagination has been ignited over the past nearly nine months.
"She really has shown Eliana the power of kindness," said Emily. "Eliana is pretty shy, she's pretty introverted. And so I think that because of this experience, she's made her comfortable so she opens up."
Earlier this month, Eliana’s parents told Kenney they would be moving away, too. But they didn’t want to leave without saying goodbye. So after some planning and receiving negative COVID-19 tests, Eliana finally met Sapphire in person in front of the fairy garden where their friendship began.
“We got to sit and talk for about an hour and she asked me a million questions about what life is like as a fairy,” Kenney wrote on Twitter. “It was incredible and one of the most important and impactful afternoons of my life thus far.”
Since sharing their story on social media, Kenney has received thousands of likes and positive comments.
"My husband and I were just floored," Emily said about the response the Twitter thread has received. "Kelly is incredible. I'm just so blessed to know her in this situation. I really hope this continues to do something that brings healing in this world right now."
Kenney said she and Eliana plan to stay in touch by writing letters to each other.