A secret Santa in Rigby, Idaho, is making the holidays a little easier this year for a widow and her teenage grandson.
When Lyla Howell’s husband, Darrel, passed away in August, she had no idea how she would pay the funeral bill. The elderly widow also cares for her 16-year-old grandson, who has special needs, according to East Idaho News.
Following Darrel’s death, Eckersell Funeral Home performed a basic service for Darrel, who was a veteran of the National Guard and the United States Air Force.
He served as a sharp-shooter out of Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma from 1962 to 1966, according to his obituary.
The obituary continues:
Darrel was injured after a botched landing on a flight to serve in [the] Vietnam War. He returned to the U.S. with two broken legs. After his service with the U.S. military, he moved back to Idaho and became a cowboy working for BM Tibbets and Sons. He met the love of his life, Lyla Hansen working as a cowboy near Badge Creek in Teton Valley.
Recently, Lyla received some financial help from her church, but she still owed the funeral home $4,000. She hoped her late husband’s Veterans Affairs benefits would cover the cost but was told last week that there was only enough money for a headstone.
However, a present from an anonymous person in the area changed everything for the Howell family.
A few days ago, reporter Nate Eaton helped distribute a portion of the secret Santa’s gift by surprising the widow with $1,000 for groceries and an additional $4,000 to cover the rest of the funeral costs.
“He heard about you and said, ‘I need to give Lyla some love today,’” Eaton told the elderly woman as she opened the presents.
“Thank you,” Lyla said when she realized what the boxes contained. “Thank you so much.”
“That should cover your husband’s funeral,” Eaton told her, adding, “You don’t need to worry about paying for it.”