A Home Depot employee in California played the role of Santa Claus to replace a beloved doll the young girl lost in the store.
Tyson Manuele, the manager of a Home Depot in Hanford, California, first met Adrianna Escamilla, 6, and her mom, Rosamaria Jaramillo, last month as they frantically searched his store for Adrianna’s beloved doll, Katy.
Adrianna was returning items to Home Depot with her family when she placed her doll in a shopping cart and then lost the doll when the shopping cart was misplaced.
“We realized she was missing before we even left Home Depot,” Jaramillo told ABC News. “We asked the Home Depot employees and looked everywhere, through all of the carts and shelves.”
Jaramillo said her family left the store that day without Katy, a doll Adrianna carried with her everywhere. They returned the next few days to provide a description of the doll again to employees and search themselves, all to no avail.
“After going there for about three days, I told her, I said, ‘It might be that a little girl needed Katy,’” Jaramillo said. “We kept going back to the store because we needed to give her closure.
“I was worried she was going to get sick over it,” she said of Adrianna.
Manuele said his staff also searched high and low for the lost doll. When it was clear the doll was nowhere to be found, Manuele decided to take action.
“I am very lucky to work for such a great company as the Home Depot who encourages all employees to give back and do the right thing,” Manuele said. “It’s just what we do here.”
He added, “I got all the family’s information because I was determined for Adrianna to have a happy Christmas.”
Jaramillo recalled getting a call from Manuele out of the blue to find out exactly what type of doll Adrianna had lost. He then told Jaramillo he wanted to surprise Adrianna with a new doll.
“It just touched my heart to the point that I cried,” she said. “For him to take the time to go out a buy a doll and spend money and help my daughter, it’s not his responsibility but he went out of his way.”
Manuele, the father of a 22-year-old daughter, purchased the new doll -- a near replica of Katy -- with his own money. He and his wife, Stefini, also wrote a letter from Santa Claus to Adrianna.
“It had been a while since I went doll shopping so it brought back a lot of fond memories of Christmases past,” Manuele said. “I bought her the best one I could afford because every child should have the best Christmas possible.”
Jaramillo brought Adrianna and her twin sister, Lillyanne, back to the Home Depot a few days later to be surprised with the new doll.
“She was just tickled to death that Santa was there at Home Depot,” said Jaramillo, who described Adrianna as “thrilled” by the new doll. “We always tell her that Santa sees everything.
“For her to know that Santa knew she lost her doll and that he brought a doll with him to Home Depot when he went to buy his tools, it just really gave her a sense of Christmas and that there is a Santa,” she said.
Manuele described the moment as “emotional,” too.
“It reminded me a lot of seeing my own daughter open her gifts on Christmas,” he said. "I was very thankful to Adrianna and her family for allowing me to re-live those special times."
He added, “My only hope was that she would like the doll and believe Santa had gone out of his way to help her personally because what better Christmas present could there be.”