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A Christmas wish with a Facebook twist

Sometimes Santa gets a little help this time of year.
That’s what three local women recently found out.
And at least three children will get a brighter Christmas as a result.
This holiday tale begins at the Target in Somers Point.
Brittany Green was in the toy section when a woman approached asking if they might be searching for the same thing.
The woman was looking for a Magic Mixies, which Green recognized as one of this year’s must-have but nearly impossible to find gifts.
The woman’s niece was trying to find one for her 5-year-old daughter.
“I had a feeling it was sold out because it was a very popular toy,” said Green, who actually works at the Mays Landing Target.
But Green tracked down a sales associate to help the woman, who we’ll call “Great Aunt Stephanie” to help keep the magic alive for the 5-year-old whose Christmas wish sparked the search.
The associate’s news was about what Green thought it would be: They were out and no new inventory was expected before Christmas.
The two women parted ways, thinking that was the end of it.
But Green wasn’t quite done.
Her next shopping stop took her to Walmart, where she found the coveted toy.
She snapped up a couple of them, still with Great Aunt Stephanie on her mind.
How would she find the woman, though?
Green then took to Facebook.
She posted about the chance encounter, and said the woman had been searching for the gift for a child on an angel tree, for children in need.
But that wasn’t quite true.
Great Aunt Stephanie had been shopping for an angel tree gift as well, but that was a jogging suit sought for a boy. But he’ll factor in a little later.
Stephanie had told her sister about the nice woman who tried to help her fulfill the little girl’s Christmas wish.
So, when Stephanie’s sister – the young girl’s grandmother – saw Green’s Facebook post, she recognized the story, and called Stephanie.
As soon as Stephanie saw the post, she knew it was the same woman she met at Target, and put her name into the Facebook search bar. The two had one friend in common.
Rachel Winn had already seen her friend’s post searching for the woman, and hoped she would find her.
“Brittany is the type of person who tries to help people if they need, and so it was no surprise to me that she would have been trying to find this so-called needle in a haystack to help a child in need,” Winn said.
But what did surprise her is the call she got later from Stephanie.
“It’s funny because I’ve known both of them for a good amount of time,” Winn said. “I never thought for a second that I could be the connecting factor to bringing joy and happiness to that particular child this holiday season.”
Green planned to just give the Magic Mixies to her new friend. But since Stephanie insisted on paying, she decided to donate another of the toys to a local nonprofit.
“The feeling of still being able to make a child over the moon on Christmas Day is unmatched,” she said.
And Stephanie’s niece was so happy to have her daughter’s wish fulfilled, she said she knew exactly where to get a jogging suit for the little boy from the angel tree, which lists children whose parents are incarcerated.
So, Stephanie decided she would pull another name from the tree at Linwood Community Church, where she was secretary for years.
For anyone keeping count, that’s three children on Santa’s list helped by a chance encounter in the toy aisle.
But maybe it wasn’t so chance.
“Things fell into place that really should not have,” Stephanie said. “It was more than a coincidence.”
Cue the sleigh bells and a distant, “Ho, ho, ho.”

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