- Local girl makes sure adults have a Merry Christmas
"Santa brings gifts for kids, but who gets gifts for grown-ups, Papaw?" little 4-year-old Cameron Carroll asked her Grandpa Heagy the week before Christmas.
Jim Heagy was visiting with his daughter, Jamie Gates, and granddaughter. It was Cameron's bedtime so Jim tucked her in and started to tell her a bedtime story.
Cameron stopped her grandpa, saying she wanted to tell him a story instead. After completing her version of "Goldilocks and the Three Bears", Cameron started asking questions, which was common for the always curious little girl.
Grandpa Heagy told her she needed to get some rest because Santa would be there in just a few days. That's when the diminutive, blonde moppet looked up at her papaw with her big brown eyes and asked who gets gifts for grown-ups.
"When I told her that grown-ups get gifts for other grown-ups, she asked why kids didn't get presents for grown-ups," Jim said.
"She's always been so inquisitive," he continued. "Once when she was 2, Cameron was with me while I was working on my truck , changing plugs. By the time I got done she was asking about how internal combustion works," Jim said with a proud smile.
Her papaw always tried to take the time to answer Cameron's questions as best he could. When she asked why kids didn't get presents for grown-ups Jim told her it was because kids didn't have the money to do that.
"I have money in my purse," she answered. "I could get them some presents."
Cameron had a favorite little purple purse where she kept pennies and other change. It usually had about $3 in it.
Jim told her he didn't think she had enough money to buy all the adults a special gift.
"Well, I could get them some candy," she said.
Seeing how important it was to Cameron, Jim agreed that she could get them some candy and maybe some fruit and nuts, too. And he volunteered to help.
Jim got apples, oranges, hard candy and peanuts. Then he and Cameron filled little brown paper bags with the goodies and topped each one off with a candy cane. Cameron chose Hardee's Restaurant as her distribution point. She frequently went there with her grandpa and knew most of the workers.
Jim called the assistant manager, Cathy Timm, to get permission. And on the Monday before Christmas, accompanied by her grandpa and Aunt Pam Heagy, Cameron handed out little bags of Christmas joy to grown-ups at Hardee's.
At first she was a little timid. But when Jim told her it was OK to talk to a stranger as long as her grandpa and aunt were with her, Cameron lost her shyness. She walked right up to the patrons, handed them a sack and said, "This is for you. Merry Christmas."
The Kennedy's Crossing pre-schooler was asked how many sacks she gave out, she replied: "I can't count that high. It was a lot." When asked why she did it, Cameron said, "I thought it would make everybody happy. It made me feel good inside."
"I thought it was very sweet," Timm said. "I'd never heard of a child wanting to give to adults. It's usually they want to know what they're going to get. It was very refreshing."
Customer George Bell said, "It was real cute. It made me feel good."
Another customer, Vern Smith, added, "I didn't feel like we deserved it."
Patron J.D. Burk commented, "The parents have done a good job of teaching the little girl values. I was so impressed with her goodness."
Local businessman Rick James went to Hardee's for breakfast that morning, too. While he was waiting for his food, Cameron walked up and offered him the sack of candy saying Merry Christmas.
"I said, I think you have the wrong person," Rick conveyed. "She said. 'No, it's for you. Merry Christmas.' Then the employee explained what the little girl was doing. That's the sweetest thing I've seen in a long time. She was the angel of Christmas."