Third grader Daniel Hunt was speechless when he walked into the classroom at his Tennessee elementary school last week and saw a pile of toys that was all for him.
Everything from board games to a football to Pokemon had been gifted to him by his classmates, just a week after his family had lost everything on Sept. 21 when their house burned down.
Hunt's teachers had come up with the idea for a toy drive that was enthusiastically supported by his classmates, who snuck in toys while keeping it a secret for the whole week, according to Philadelphia Elementary School counselor Kelly Jones.
"The kids could not wait to do this for Daniel,'' Jones told TODAY Parents in a statement. "It was amazing to witness the excitement these third-grade kids had while sneaking in toys.
"The entire week, they couldn’t love him enough. 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!"
The kids could barely contain their excitement on Friday as they waited for Hunt to enter the classroom. They all yelled, "Surprise!" as Hunt stood there speechless from the gesture.
"He said 'I love it! Everyone come here,' with his arms open wide,'' Jones said. "The kids immediately swarmed in for a large group hug."
Jones, who called Hunt "one of the most positive, happy students" she's ever seen, said his reaction to the surprise exemplified his personality.
"I love that because it shows Daniel’s big heart,'' she said. "When he saw what his class did for him, he didn’t immediately start going through the toys — he wanted to give his classmates a hug for what they did for him."
The adults in the room couldn't help but smile when seeing the unbridled joy between Hunt and his classmates.
"Every adult and even a few students had tears swelling up in their eyes who were in the room to witness this,'' Jones said. "I feel extremely blessed to have witnessed the pure love and giving from the hearts of the third-grade students at my school."