PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WMBB) — Christmas may have passed, but the gift of giving and the holiday spirit is still around— and a Panama City Beach family found that out on Wednesday.
The Leis family seems to never have a boring day, especially with 10 children— seven of whom still live at home with mom, Brittany, and dad, Josh.
Josh is also in the Air Force.
“The hardest part about it is just being away from [family],” he said. “I think when you are home, you really cherish the moments you have with them and the time you spend with them.”
Nine years ago, Brittany and Josh had Sawyer. He was diagnosed with moderate to severe autism when he was almost two years old.
When Sawyer was four, Brittany said he started to develop a unique fascination.
“He loves FedEx,” she said. “We don’t really know why he loves FedEx, but he does.”
That’s right— the package delivery service. Brittany said Sawyer’s love for FedEx has helped him, especially in his therapy at Florida State University.
“It’s only really been probably the last six months or so that I’ve kinda fed into the FedEx interest and thought, ‘Hey, maybe we can use that as a tool to help him with his ABA therapy.’,” she said.
And so the family supported his interest. Brittany made Sawyer a FedEx driver costume for Halloween this year and even threw him a FedEx-themed birthday party.
Every day, the family can find Sawyer waiting by the window to watch the delivery truck go by.
“On a daily basis, we see the same FedEx driver come through our neighborhood, which now I know his name is Justin,” Brittany said. “We exchanged names, and Sawyer said hello and admired the truck.”
On Wednesday, Justin the delivery driver left a sweet surprise for Sawyer.
“One of the kids opened the door, and it was this little backpack full of goodies from Justin,” Brittany said. “It was very sweet.” The gift was a backpack full of FedEx-themed items, including sunglasses, a hat, a T-shirt, a tumbler, and Sawyer’s personal favorite: highlighters.
“He’s not conversational, but you could see his wheels turning like, ‘All of this FedEx stuff for me,’ and he just kept pulling items out and was grinning and his eyes were happy,” Brittany said.
The family said they are incredibly thankful for Justin’s kind gesture.
“It’s awesome to know that someone took time out of their day to do that,” Josh said. “Just stopping and talking to Brittany in the first place about Sawyer.”
Brittany said the gesture brought tears to her eyes.
“If I could give [Justin] a hug, I would,” she said. “I just really appreciate the time he took to put that package together for Sawyer… It means a lot to us.”
The family has not seen Justin in person since receiving the gift, but they said they plan to thank him as soon as they see him again.