20-year-old takes on raising 5 siblings after both parents die gifted new car from strangers

PO Team: This article was originally published on April 11, 2019.

Losing our parents is something that each one of us will ultimately face. It is a day that we never want to come, but a situation that none of us could prevent, as death is a natural part of the human experience.

Dealing with loss is difficult in itself, but having to go through it simultaneously while being the sole caretaker of your five younger siblings could be too much to handle. 20-year-old Samantha Rodriguez knows this all too well, for she is currently living this tough reality.

The Rodriguez siblings

Samantha and her siblings lost both of their parents to cancer in recent years. As the oldest living member of the family, she took over the role of raising her five younger siblings – who were aged five to sixteen – all on her own.

News of their unfortunate situation reached the Orange County Sheriff’s Office Aviation Unit, so the team decided to give the children a “Christmas to remember” last year. 

The group told the kids that they would be coming to the aviation hangar for a tour. But what they didn’t know was that there were piles of gifts waiting for them inside the office.

Samantha Rodriguez

When they came in, Santa Claus greeted them with a hearty “Ho ho ho!”, and the kids immediately came running to him to give him a hug. Afterward, each of them opened their carefully-wrapped gifts and with wide smiles, saw the beautiful items it revealed.

The OCSO posted the video of the surprise on their Facebook page for the rest of the community to see. It was definitely an unforgettable Christmas for the aviation unit and the Rodriguez family, and both parties thought that it would end there.

However, beautiful stories like this just don’t conclude that simply. Especially when you factor in the combined power of social media and a generous community.


The Christmas surprise video reached several members of the community and they reached out to the deputies, asking them what more they can do to help the Rodriguez siblings further.

After receiving enough donations from several anonymous donors, the OCSO gifted the family with another bigger surprise – a brand new Nissan Versa!

The OCSO presented the brand new car to Samantha, who said:

“You don’t know how much this means to us. It’s such a big help, really. Doing everything on my own is very hard but I’m so glad to have people like you guys in my life.”


Samantha took the vehicle to her younger siblings, and they couldn’t believe it when she told them that the car was theirs. They kept asking, “This is ours?”, and when the truth finally sunk in, they had nothing but thank you to say to the sheriff’s office, and said in the end: “We love you guys!”

Now, the Rodriguez siblings have one less thing to worry about, and getting around would be easier for the bunch.

Check out the video below as the family was surprised with the brand new car.

Indeed, nothing is impossible when a community comes together for a good cause.