Teen Spends Entire Paycheck on Family Who Couldn't Afford Christmas

"We've been calling her our Christmas angel."

December 28, 2016, 1:37 PM

— -- A 16-year-old girl made one family’s Christmas extra special this year after spending her paycheck on gifts for a mom and her four boys in need.

Abby Meehan was working a double shift at her cashier's job at Baesler’s Market on Christmas Eve when she learned that customer Cory Swetland was unable to afford to buy presents for her children.

Swetland, 39, had been shopping for last-minute food items with her son Jacob, 10, and met Abby on the checkout line.

"I was paying and [Jacob] was kind of being a boy -- dancing and that sort of thing," Swetland of Terre Haute, Indiana, told ABC News. "She leaned down and said, 'What is Santa going to bring you for Christmas?' He started to tear up and I said, 'We had to have a conversation yesterday that Santa is not coming this year and she said, 'Oh, I'm sorry.' I said, 'No, no. It's OK. It just upsets me to see him upset.'

"She put our couple of things in a bag and grabbed my arm and said, 'I can't let that happen. What's your number?'"

Thinking Abby wanted to add her name into the store's holiday raffle, Swetland gave the teen her phone number and went home.

Due to heart problems, Swetland has been out of work and was unable to afford presents this holiday season, she said. But on Dec. 24, Abby reached out to Swetland asking what Jacob would like for Christmas.

"I grabbed my dad and I was on a mission," Abby told ABC News. "I said, 'We've got to get this kid some gifts. It's not fair for someone to not have something to open on Christmas.' We took [presents] to his house and you couldn't imagine the look on his face. He was jumping up and down and smiling and we exchanged at least 10 hugs that night."

PHOTO: Abby Meehan, left, 16, of Terre Haute, Indiana, bought gifts for a family after learning Santa wasn't coming this year.
Abby Meehan, left, 16, of Terre Haute, Indiana, bought gifts for a family after learning Santa wasn't coming this year.
Cory Swetland

Abby bought Jacob a few games he asked for, cookies and candy. She said she spent $75, a week of earnings, on the boy.

On Dec. 26, Swetland, her four sons, Abby and her parents met at Baesler’s Market.

Abby's mother, Mandy Meehan, purchased additional gifts for Jacob's brothers and $200 in food for Swetland.

"I knew I had to do more," Meehan told ABC News. "I took them around the store and we stocked her up on groceries. I think [Abby] put herself aside and I think that's remarkable. I'm very proud of her, for sure."

Swetland said she'll never forget Abby's kindness and is glad her son Jacob now has "a friend for life."

"I couldn't say enough wonderful things about her," she added. "We've been calling her our Christmas angel."

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