When a stranger walks up and hands over $10,000, a young widower and father of seven breaks down. Dakota Nelson’s life in 2018 was hectic but happy. Things were going well for him and his wife, Ream Nelson, who had seven children ranging in age from one to sixteen. But everything changed in July of that year. Dakota walked out of the garage to put some tools away. When he returned, he discovered his 38-year-old wife’s lifeless body on the ground.
Ream, 38, collapsed on the floor after her heart stopped beating for reasons we’ll never know. Dakota Nelson was a widower and single father of seven children when the tragedy struck. But there is always some light in the darkness, and the kindness of others helped me get through this difficult time. Prayers poured in for the bereaved father and his children. Dakota Nelson’s GoFundMe page was used to raise funds from friends and family. A Secret Santa even surprised a father of seven with an unexpected act of kindness one day.
A stranger approached Dakota Nelson and his children in a parking lot on a typical December day. Nate Eaton, a news anchor for East Idaho News, was the stranger. And he was there to deliver Secret Santa gifts to the Nelsons. Dakota stood there in disbelief as his children opened a gift box containing a $1,000 grocery gift card and a $1,000 Walmart gift card. But that wasn’t the only thing. Nate handed Dakota a $8,000 check, and the stunned father of seven burst into tears.
Dakota’s gratitude could already be seen in his flood of emotions. But he later followed up with a heartfelt thank you note, saying: “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 noticed this and have expressed a desire to do the same for others.
Thank you once more for making this Christmas memorable.” Dakota Nelson and his family have had more time to heal in the years since the Secret Santa surprise. And the father of seven says they are doing well because of the love and support they have received. “It’s because of everyone who helped,” Dakota explained. “Everyone’s prayers, donations, and everything else. It made the transition to a new way of life a lot easier.”
While their hearts will always ache for Ream, it was the kindness of others that helped the family get through the hardest days of their grief. “The amount of help, love, and support we received was tremendous. “Especially that first year,” Dakota remarked. Dakota and his children have felt the love of their Heavenly Father through the love and support of others. And, despite the unbelievable tragedy they’ve endured, their faith in Him has only grown stronger. Dakota gives all credit to God for their hearts’ healing.
“Honestly, it’s our Heavenly Father working in each of our lives,” the father of seven says. “I’ve realized that without Him, I’m nothing.” It can be difficult to see the light in the darkness, but it exists. Dakota Nelson’s tragic story turned inspirational Christmas story of hope is a prime example!