Adam Armstrong became a literal Santa Claus to the kids of the town as he gave away bikes, balls and remote-control cars along with other toys to residents of Harris Gardens Apartments — a low-income, Section 8 complex in Harrisonburg.
Christmas season is the time to give back and spread some of that holiday cheer. A man from Virginia, whose only childhood memories are of being poor has turned the tables and how! The man, who grew up in the town of Harrisonburg in the Shenandoah Valley recently came to town over the weekend with a 26-foot truck packed with $12,000 worth of toys, reports NBC News. Adam Armstrong became a literal Santa Claus to the kids of the town as he gave away bikes, balls and remote-control cars along with other toys to residents of Harris Gardens Apartments — a low-income, Section 8 complex in Harrisonburg, the same place he once lived in.
Man who grew up poor gifts $12,000 in toys to low-income kids in town where he lived. https://t.co/gscyyiqCTM— NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt (@NBCNightlyNews) December 11, 2019
“You see these kids and you hand them a baby doll, or a Nerf gun, a bicycle, two little boys throwing a football and you can't put a price on the feeling that gives you," Armstrong told NBC News on Wednesday. "I consider myself very blessed." He even wore a Santa's hat while he handed out these gifts. Adam gave away all the toys to the kids who came to him ad Harris Garden, and then he went to three other low-income developments nearby before donating remaining gifts to the Salvation Army.
"I remember Harrisonburg being a friendly small town," about 130 miles southwest of the nation's capital, Armstrong said. "I remember government housing and a lot of poverty, crimes, drugs, violence, and things of that nature. Every time I see kids, I know it's not their fault where they are." Sara Lewis-Weeks, who is Harris Gardens property manager said she was just finishing up with her lunch on a Wednesday when Armstrong walked into her office.
"He comes in and says, `What are you doing on Saturday? I'd like to give away a lot of toys' and I'm like, `Yeaaah, I don't know about that,' " Lewis-Weeks recounted. 'I'm very skeptical at that point." Sara had to confirm Armstrong's identity and once she did, she found out that he was a good man who made a good living in selling vacation properties. Soon enough, she made flyers for the kids in the complex for them to show up on Saturday for the toy giveaway.
The property manager assumed Armstrong's gifts were going to be minimal, so she wasn't prepared for the events that were going to unfurl in front of her eyes. "It wasn't like stuffed animals, he was giving away bikes, remote-controlled cars, real Barbie dolls, not Dollar Store Barbie dolls," Weeks recalled. "He didn't miss anybody. His heart was truly in this." What she believed would be a moderate giveaway, turned out to be an "Oprah for little kids," she said, in reference to The Oprah Winfrey Show when the host gave away cars to an entire studio audience.
"They thought it was going to be a couple of stuffed animals, not, 'And you get a bike, and you get a bike, and you get a bike,' like an 'Oprah' for little kids," Lewis-Weeks said. Armstrong, who lives in nearby Penn Laird, Virginia, has been doing Christmas giveaways since December 2013. Since Adam once lived in the same situation, he knew what he missed out on as a child and so he tried to make a difference in their lives, as he would have hoped someone did to him, when he was a child.