A chance encounter between grieving parents and a family in the happiest place on Earth revealed a striking coincidence, and a twist to this heartwarming story.
Kyle and Kara Geiselman of Massachusetts and their four children were enjoying their family vacation in Florida when a lovely, but sad, encounter led to a search for a mystery couple. Kara related that they were at Hollywood Studios in Disneyland and were taking a break in the shade.
According to Kyle, “I went to throw something away and Belle came to follow me. I turn around and I see her walking toward me, right between this couple and the couple sort of parts ways.”
The couple looked at each other, and then asked Kyle if the little girl liked gold. “I apologized and they responded by asking if they could give Belle something. Then, the man pulls a gold ring out from his bag,” Kyle said
A year earlier, the woman explained, they were at the theme park with their daughter courtesy of Disney and the Make-A-Wish Foundation and bought two gold Mickey Mouse rings – one for their child, and another to be gifted to a child who “was adorable like their little girl.”
Kyle was so overwhelmed that he froze. He wanted to thank them for honoring their child through his daughter, express his sympathies for their insurmountable loss, and say that the girl they gifted was in fact a little warrior as well. He recalled, “I can only imagine how hard it was for them to be back without their daughter. I wanted to know more, but I didn’t want to make it any more difficult for them.”
Kyle wanted to find the grieving parents and say they had given the precious gift to exactly the right child. Belle and her identical twin Milly were born premature at 30 weeks, and Belle had required a feeding tube for the first 18 months of her life.
“When Belle was five days old, her doctors were like, ‘We don’t know if she is going to live,” Kyle explained. “She actually almost died.” The twins arrived early due to complications from twin to twin transfusion syndrome. The twins shared a placenta and Milly received more nutrients than Belle.
“Belle came out like a ghost and Milly came out like a tomato. They were both born with a lot of issues, some the same, some different. Belle was born with chronic lung disease. Both needed assistance breathing early on. They started to get better but she was growing faster than her lungs were developing, so her condition actually got better and then got worse.”
Belle spent 126 days in the NICU, fighting to breathe and eat. Now four, the twins may continue to experience some medical complications but are happy and healthy.
Kyle said that Belle “is loving” the ring. “She had the biggest smile on her face when they gave it to her. She wanted to wear it but it’s too big, so we told her we would keep it for her until it’s big enough. We may put it on a chain so she can wear it around her neck.”
Now, the Geiselmans using social media to find the grieving parents and thank them properly. Kara added, “They didn’t know that we were back at the place where our daughter surprised us all and started eating by mouth for the first time at 18 months old, or that this trip was the first time she traveled to Disney without needing a feeding tube for nourishment or an oxygen mask on the flight. This little gold Mickey Mouse ring will forever be kept as a priceless gift and always cherished.”
Kyle hopes to connect with the couple to show their appreciation. “Whether they want to be found or if they just wanted to make this kind gesture, either way is fine with us. But at the same time, we figured we’d make an attempt to find them and thank them, and give them a story of the significance of the child they chose, the struggles she faced, continues to face, and how much it means to us.”