One “Secret Santa” made this family’s Christmas extra special.

Ben and Misty Ashley love children. So much so that they have twelve of them, ages one to seventeen. Some of them are adopted and some of them have special needs. Many people would say that Ben and Misty must have the patience of saints, but to anyone who sees them, it’s evident that it’s love that binds this family together.

Why One Family Works Multiple Jobs

To care for their large family and make ends meet each month, both Misty and Ben work multiple jobs. They work different shifts, often just crossing like ships in the night as they go between work and home. It’s hard, but there’s nothing Ben and Misty wouldn’t do for their kids. And on Sundays, they all get to be home and enjoy being together as a family.

It was on a Sunday that a reporter and cameraman from East Idaho News visited the family. They had tried to visit before but found no one at home. That’s not a rare thing for this busy family, but they had been slowed down in their activities lately.

The van that they had gotten from a junkyard ten years ago had finally broken down for good. It sat idle in their driveway, because the Ashleys didn’t have the time or money to repair it.

But there’s a Secret Santa in East Idaho, and every year, he or she gifts a deserving family with what they really need for Christmas. This year, the Ashleys were to be the lucky recipients of the Secret Santa’s kindness. But they had no idea.

When the reporter rang the doorbell of the Ashley home the second time, it was Misty who answered. A few of the kids started trickling in, curious to see who was at the door. And then Ben appeared behind them, too.

Secret Santa asked us to come and see you guys,” the reporter explained. “He asked us if we could bring you a gift.” And he handed over a small box.

The Gift ‘Secret Santa’ Gave One Big Family

Misty cautiously opened the box to find a check for $1,000. But there was more. As she unfolded a slip of pink paper, the reporter explained that it was a $10,000 store credit to Ashley Home Store. The family could buy beds for all the children, a dining room set, couches, and more. Whatever furniture they needed, Ashley Home Store was waiting to give it to them. 

Ben immediately got teary-eyed. Misty was in shock. “He works his butt off all the time,” Misty said of her husband and thanked the news team repeatedly.

“We have one more thing for you,” the reporter continued, “but you’re gonna want shoes on.” The kids looked around eagerly for their shoes, but Misty wasn’t going to wait.

“I don’t care,” she said eagerly and walked out of the house with no shoes. As the family rounded the corner of their house and walked into the driveway, Misty stopped short and started crying. The kids and Ben followed. When Ben saw the brand new, 15-passenger van in the driveway, he hugged his kids.

Misty was barely able to squeak out a thank you, but the news crew was opening the van and encouraging the whole family to try it out. 

“How does it feel?” Asked the reporter to Ben, who was sitting in the driver’s seat. He was literally speechless, wiping away tears.

How One Family Had an Extra Special Christmas

lit Christmas tree in a living room
Photo by Brett Sayles

But the kids weren’t speechless. “I like it! I like it!” They shouted excitedly. Now, they would be able to go places together as a family.

The reporter explained that the Secret Santa had gifted them the Ashley Home Store gift certificate and the brand new van. All the taxes and fees were already paid, and the $1,000 check could be used to pay the registration when the Ashley’s would go to the DMV to register their new vehicle.

“Thank you so much,” Ben was finally able to say to the team, tears of happiness streaming down his face. But they didn’t need to hear it. The entire family’s reactions were thanks enough to both them and the Secret Santa who would see the video footage later.

They had indeed delivered a Christmas miracle to the Ashley family, and they could see that the family was more than deserving of the gift.

“Hey, Dad!” said one of the older boys as the family hugged each other and stared in disbelief at their new van. “Let’s take that one to the junkyard,” he laughed, indicating the broken down van that had been sitting in their driveway for months.

It will be a very merry Christmas for the Ashley family this year! A vehicle in which they can travel together as a family is indeed the perfect gift for these loving, dedicated, hard-working parents.


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