A third grader got a much-needed surprise earlier this week, thanks to the generosity of his elementary school classmates.
Daniel Hunt and his family lost all of their belongings in a house fire last month, a tragic incident that left many in the community calling Philadelphia Elementary School to see how they could lend a hand.
That's when Daniel's teachers got an idea. They decided to surprise the third grader with a toy drive to help make up for some of the items he'd lost. Daniel's classmates were immediately excited to participate.
"The kids could not wait to do this for Daniel,'' school counselor Kelly Jones told TODAY Parents. "It was amazing to witness the excitement these third-grade kids had while sneaking in toys."
Jones said the children spent a week secretly smuggling toys into the classroom, never once letting Daniel know what was happening. They did, however, take plenty of time to show support for their classmate.
"The entire week, they couldn’t love him enough," Jones said. "People were holding doors for him, getting his pencil ready for him each morning, taking his chair down from the desk for him to sit in and swarming him at recess. They kept the best secret!"
And their hard work paid off in one heartwarming moment, when Daniel walked into class to shouts of "surprise!" and a pile of toys sitting on the table. A video posted by ABC News shows the incredible exchange.
Daniel was reportedly "speechless for a minute" at what his classmates had done. Jones said Daniel didn't even consider looking through the toys before first expressing his gratitude.
"He said, 'I love it! Everyone come here,' with his arms open wide and the kids swarmed in for a large group hug," Jones told TODAY.
Photos of the surprise show Daniel tearing up as his classmates all gather around. The special moment left almost everyone in the room feeling emotional, Jones said.
"Every adult and even a few students had tears swelling up in their eyes who were in the room to witness this,'' she said. "I feel extremely blessed to have witnessed the pure love and giving from the hearts of the third-grade students at my school."
Eventually, Daniel did dig through the pile of toys, which contained board games, Legos, Pokémon cards and more. During his ride home from school that day, he told his grandmother he was "happy crying."
"I love that his friends gave from their heart to this special little grandson, they were so excited to give!" the grandmother, Marsha Hunt, wrote on Facebook. "He has looked at each and every toy, big and small, and he loves them all. Thank you so much!!!!!!"