A sweet surprise is underway for some Bay area kids who truly deserve it.
The four Howard siblings are new to the area, having moved to Sarasota from Georgia in November after an unimaginable tragedy. They lost both of their parents in a car crash when they stepped out to run a quick errand, and never returned.
Their story made headlines, not only because of their loss, but also because of the state trooper who responded to the scene that night.
He went to their home to explain what happened, and soon realized the kids- ages 13, 10, 8 and 6 -were there by themselves. Rather than breaking the news, and their hearts on Halloween night, he stayed with them and entertained them until their grandmother could make the drive up from Sarasota.
They’ve been staying with her in Sarasota since, and thanks to a GoFundMe account started by the trooper, and an outpouring of support from loved ones and complete strangers alike, they’re beginning to adjust to their new lives in the Bay area.
And come this weekend, thanks to a surprise from Raymond James Stadium and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, they’ll be living it up in true Tampan fashion.
FOX 13 learned the oldest of the siblings, Justin, not only has a love for football, but also for the Bucs. We let the Bucs know, and they were happy to orchestrate something special for the family.
In a video posted to the Operation Howard Kids Facebook page Thursday night, Justin learned that he would be getting a full tour of Raymond James Stadium on Friday, along with a meet and greet with the team, and access to a luxury suite for him and his siblings to watch Sunday’s game against the Atlanta Falcons.
His reaction to the news was priceless!
And in a separate post, the page mentions that the surprises for the kids don't stop there.
"In addition to last night's surprise for Justin and his siblings, I want to thank the Atlanta Falcons along with the Tampa Bay Bucs. The owner of the Falcons reached out to Nathan a few weeks ago with a similar offer for the kids," it reads. "It truly warms my heart to see both of these NFL franchises (and rivals at that!) reaching out in such an amazing way. Not only do these acts make one of Justin's dreams a reality, these teams are giving the kids amazing memories they will never forget in the midst of a very difficult time."
Click here to access the Operation Howard Kids Facebook page, and watch the original video of Justin's big surprise below: