20-year-old takes on raising 5 siblings after both parents die gifted new car from strangers

PO Team: This article originally appeared on April 11, 2019.

Each one of us will eventually have to face the reality of losing our parents. It is something that we all have to face. However, it is something that we cannot avoid.

It is hard enough to deal with loss. But, it can be overwhelming to have to do this while caring for five of your younger siblings. Samantha Rodriguez, 20, is living this difficult reality.


Samantha and her siblings lost both their parents to cancer in recent times. As the oldest living member of the family, she took over the role of raising her five younger siblings – who were aged five to sixteen – all on her own.

News of their unfortunate situation reached the Orange County Sheriff’s Office Aviation Unit, so the team decided to give the children a “Christmas to remember” Last year. 

The group informed the children that they would be visiting the aviation hangar to take a tour. But what they didn’t know was that there were piles of gifts waiting for them inside the office.

Samantha Rodriguez

Santa Claus welcomed them with a warm greeting when they arrived at his house. “Ho ho ho!”, The kids ran to him immediately to give him a hug. Each of them opened their thoughtfully wrapped gifts and, with wide smiles on their faces, saw the amazing items inside.

The OCSO posted a video of the surprise to their Facebook page for all to see. It was a memorable Christmas for both the Rodriguez family and the aviation unit. Both parties believed it would end there.

However, beautiful stories like this just don’t conclude that simply. This is especially true when you consider the combined power and generosity of social media and a supportive community.


The Christmas surprise video reached many members of the community, and they reached out the deputies to ask what they could do to help the Rodriguez brothers.

After receiving enough donations from several anonymous donors, the OCSO gifted the family with another bigger surprise – a brand new Nissan Versa!

Samantha was presented with the new car by the OCSO. She said:

“You don’t know how much this means to us. It’s such a big help, really. Doing everything on my own is very hard but I’m so glad to have people like you guys in my life.”


Samantha took the vehicle to her younger siblings, and they couldn’t believe it when she told them that the car was theirs. They kept asking questions. “This is ours?”, and when the truth finally sunk in, they had nothing but thank you to say to the sheriff’s office, and said in the end: “We love you guys!”

The Rodriguez siblings now have one less thing to worry about and it would make it easier for them to get around.

You can see the surprise the car brought to the family in the video.

A community working together for a cause is nothing but possible.