In less than one week, over a million people had heard Dakota Nelson's touching story. After Nelson's wife, Ream, suddenly collapsed in July and later passed away, Nelson's community rallied around him, giving a Secret Santa surprise that amounted to $10,000. Nelson's touching reaction to the gift went viral, helping spread the message of kindess and giving during the holiday season.
Recently, Nelson appeared on East Idaho News and shared the touching message his wife shared with him in a dream:
In response to the Secret Santa gift his family received, Nelson wrote a touching letter, offering his thanks:
"It is hard to write this as I am at a total loss of words. There is no way for me to accurately convey how grateful we are for this kindness. As I was surprised with the gifts, I looked at my kids – who will remember this event forever as the best time they had in a hard time. Thank you for being an example to my family on how to look out for the needs of others.
"I have noticed that through this ordeal, we have been blessed to see kindness replace the pain of losing a loved one whom I had been married to for 17 years. My children have noted this and have stated that they want to do the same for others. . . .
"I know no one makes it through life without some sort of event that is strenuous to the soul but I had not realized how much one can be happy even when the light is out and it is dark. Thank you for being that light."
Dakota and Ream Nelson were cleaning their garage on Saturday, July 11. Dakota left for just a moment to put some tools away. When he came back, Ream was on the ground, unconscious and not breathing.
One of the couple's children called 911 and Dakota performed CPR until the paramedics got to their home, but Ream never regained consciousness.
Ream remained in a coma until Sunday, September 23, when the 38-year-old passed away, leaving behind seven children, their ages ranging from one years old to 16 years old.
"We don't know really what happened," Dakota told East Idaho News while holding his youngest in his arms.
Now a single father, Dakota works three part-time jobs, including working as a seminary teacher at North Fremont High School in Idaho, to support his family.
Watch the video of Dakota Nelson receiving the Secret Santa surprise from East Idaho News: