For the last two weeks 6-year-old Braley Teixeira has been questioning his dad about when they were going to go to Disneyland. Little did he know the trip of his dreams was just around the corner.
Braley and his father Jonny Teixeira are the recipients of an all-expenses paid trip to the Magic Kingdom thanks to a campaign started by a Denair family done in memory of their lost son and brother.
The Smith family of Denair awarded the father and son the trip to Disneyland in memory of Colten Smith, who at the age of 19 months passed away from injuries he sustained from a dog attack while under the care of a babysitter.
Since that time the Smith family has sought to keep their son’s memory flourishing by committing random acts of kindness in his name. They routinely hold Christmas toy and school supply drives. On his sixth birthday they paid for a complete stranger’s birthday cake. On his seventh birthday they organized a Build-A-Bear party and donated 125 stuffed animals to a children’s hospital.
But his eighth birthday would prove to be their biggest endeavor to date.
It has become a family tradition for Breann and Brandon Smith to take their children to the “happiest place on Earth” in celebration of turning eight years old. March 16 will mark Colten’s eighth year and the family decided the best way to celebrate the occasion was by spreading the joy to another family.
A Go Fund Me campaign was started and more than $5,000 in donations was tallied up. They also put out a call for nominations of a family that could use some cheer in their lives.
Crowell Elementary Principal Margaret Osmer heard about the campaign and instantly thought of Braley, who was going through his own grieving process at the time. Michelle Texeira, Braley’s mother and Jonny’s wife, died in September 2015 from breast cancer.
“Braley watched the quick demise of his mother, but he still tried to keep his spirits up and that made him have a special place in my heart,” Osmer said.
The Smith family knew they had found the right family when they learned of the Teixera’s loss.
“We wanted to honor that and since they had been through something similar to us it was something that really touched me,” Breann Smith said.
Breann Smith contacted Jonny Texeira to tell him they had learned of their loss and wanted to send them on a trip to Disneyland, but the trip was kept secret from Braley until Friday during an assembly at Crowell Elementary.
“For the last two weeks he has been talking about Disneyland nonstop and he didn’t even know this trip was coming,” said Texeira. “He’s really been missing his mom of late and now this is going to give him so much joy.”
The trip will cover the cost of three-day park hopper passes, four nights at the Disney Grand Californian Hotel, breakfast with the characters, parking, gas, food and some spending money. The presentation of the trip at Crowell included a surprise appearance from Mickey Mouse, who just happens to be Braley’s favorite character. The appearance was donated by Party It Up with Characters.
“This feels better than going to Disneyland,” said Breann and Brandon’s oldest son Logan. “it makes you feel good inside to spread around some happiness.”