On the first day of December last year, two 4-year-old girls in Kansas sent their Christmas lists to Santa Claus by releasing balloons, as their mom documented on Facebook. Late that month, Alvin Bamburg was deer hunting in Grand Cane, La., nearly 650 miles away when he saw a balloon stuck in a tree, CNN reports. "God spoke to me. He said, 'You need to get this, and, second of all, you need to get the trash out of the woods,'" he tells the network. So he untangled it, and found the note one of the twin girls had written, which included her city. He shared a picture on Facebook in January, wondering if he could find the family who had launched the balloons from so far away—and, months later, ended up completing the twins' Christmas list wishes.
The post went viral, and eventually Luna and Gianella Gonzalez were identified as the little girls involved. People started sending them gifts, which, their mom tells the Washington Post, initially made her feel bad: "I didn’t do it for that purpose," she says, but simply as a way to lift her girls' spirits during a difficult year amid the coronavirus pandemic. (She also didn't expect the balloons to travel far on such a "cold and windy" day, she tells Good Morning America.) But ultimately, she says, the family was "overwhelmed" with the outpouring of love they received. Then, finally, this month they met Bamburg and his wife, who gave the girls the final thing they had wished for: a puppy. Both families feel like they also gained something more out of the experience: "They were already like family," Bamburg tells Today. "It doesn’t always make sense when you have a connection with people you certainly would have never met otherwise, but it happened." (Read more uplifting news stories.)