STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — He said her smile was all of the thanks he needed.
Now, a Staten Island family is searching for a man they’re calling “Secret Santa” to say a proper thank you, after his selfless act made Kara Toth’s day — and Christmas — a little merrier.
Kara, 29, who has Down syndrome and attends Lifestyles for the Disabled five days a week, went to Staples in Westerleigh last week with Lifestyles’ worker Louise Vallario to purchase supplies for the center’s upcoming holiday show.
While waiting on the checkout line, Kara noticed a hot-pink cell phone charger near the register.
“It’s my favorite color; I have a pink room,” she said, with hot-pink shoelaces in her sneakers.
“I wanted it so I could charge my phone.”
Vallario brought only the center’s credit card into Staples, leaving her purse at Lifestyles, in anticipation of having to carry a lot of bags back.
Kara, whose purse was also back at the center, had only $5 in her pocket.
The hot-pink phone charger she was eyeing cost $10.
Kara told Vallario that if she said a prayer to her grandfather, Pop-Pop — a retired NYPD officer who passed away three years ago — and put her hand back into her pocket, she would find the extra $5 she needed to make the purchase.
“I prayed to Pop-Pop; I really miss him,” Kara said.
But she didn’t find the extra money in her pocket.
“I said I would take a photograph of it and write a note to her mother, so that she could take her back to Staples to buy it another day,” Vallario said.
Then, the man standing behind them on line asked if he could purchase the charger for Kara.
“He said ‘I would like to buy this for her; it would be my pleasure’,” Vallario recalled.
She thanked him, but declined the man’s offer.
The persistent stranger offered again, telling them that he was a retired NYPD officer and it would make him happy to buy it for her.
Kara was getting her hopes up about the charger, so Vallario agreed to let the man purchase it.
Kara’s response was a stunning smile.
“We asked for his name and information so we could make him a thank you card, but he said ‘Her smile is the only thank you I need’,” Vallario recalled.
Now, Kara wants to find him so she can express her gratitude in person for her early Christmas present.
“I use it a lot; I charge my iPhone 6S,” Kara said, charger in hand.
“It was just ironic that a retired police officer helped her since her Pop-Pop was a police officer; her father is retired NYPD also,” said Kara’s mom, Nancy Ann Toth.
All are hoping that Kara’s Secret Santa will come forward so they can properly thank him for his selfless act of kindness.
So we’re asking that the selfless stranger contact the Good News editor via email — firstname.lastname@example.org — so we can arrange a meeting with Kara.