Surprise Squad delivers random acts of kindness, helps nonprofit

Surprise Squad is sponsored by Valley Toyota Dealers.
The Surprise Squad was out at a nonprofit that supports families who have children battling medical conditions and that's when a big donation happened.
Published: Feb. 20, 2022 at 4:04 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) — Feb. 17 is National Random Acts of Kindness Day, so the Arizona’s Family Surprise Squad thought it would be a great day to randomly surprise people in the community. 3TV’s Gibby Parra started the day before the sun came up at Rainbow Donuts on McDowell Road. A painter named Javier was there picking up some breakfast before his day started.

“Today is Random Acts of Kindness Day,” Parra said to Javier. “So as part of the Valley Toyota Dealers and the Surprise Squad, we’re going to buy your doughnuts to take to everybody at work.” He bought two dozen doughnuts and a carton of coffee for Javier to share with his coworkers. He also grabbed a dozen doughnuts to share with other people.

Parra’s next stop was a Chevron gas station near Indian School Road and Central. He walked up to a man who was about to drive off and offered him a doughnut. “You look like you’re a healthy guy but even if you don’t want one, you can find someone you know that loves doughnuts,” Parra said. “My boys are still sleeping at home,” the driver answered.

“Well grab one for each. Today is Random Acts of Kindness Day. Take whichever ones you like,” Parra said. “I appreciate it. I’ll certainly pass it forward,” replied the driver.

Parra walked into the gas station convenience store and greeted offered doughnuts to the cashiers. “You guys are working hard. Grab a doughnut. Don’t be scared,” said Parra. When Parra spotted a couple with a girl about to pay for some items, he told them to put their wallet away. “I see you have a couple of burritos, you’ve got some drinks. All this is on us,” he said.

He then went back outside to see if he could buy gas for customers filling up their tanks. “Wow, that’s awesome,” one woman smiled when he told her the news. “Could you really use it today?” asked Parra. “You’re not kidding. Oh boy, could we use it today,” she replied.

Parra’s next stop was the coffee shop and bakery Lux Central. He walked in and stopped one customer just as she gave her debit card to the cashier. “Could you hand that back to her real quick? Hi, my name is Gibby with Good Morning Arizona and we’re with the Surprise Squad and the Valley Toyota Dealers. Today is the Random Acts of Kindness. I want to buy your coffee. Is that OK?” asked Parra. “That sounds fantastic,” she smiled. “Thank you.”

“Is there anything else you’d like? Would you like one of their pastries that they have here?” he asked. “I appreciate that, thank you.” she said.

Parra then moved on and struck up a conversation with another customer. “How easy is it just to be nice to people?” he asked. “I think that’s our responsibility even if it’s hard to still do because random acts of kindness don’t happen enough,” the man answered. “We’re still in the pandemic. Anxiety is a real thing.”

Parra handed him a Visa card. “Here’s what I would like you to do. Spend this however you want. Here’s an extra $200 that I’m going to give to you because that is the answer of the day. No matter what day it is, no matter what you’re going through, you need to stop and make someone smile and let them know there is kindness in this world,” Parra said.

“Gibby, thank you. I’m going to take this and do the same thing and give it to someone else that deserves it more than I do. I just want to tell you how much I appreciate that and this doesn’t happen enough in our society,” the man said.

The biggest surprise of the day was still to come. Parra drove to the Armer Foundation in Ahwatukee and met up with 3TV’s Tess Rafols. The foundation runs a thrift shop that helps financially support parents with children facing serious medical issues. They help pay their medical bills so that parents can focus on their children and not stress about the money. In about two years, the foundation has given away nearly half a million dollars.

“You’re never alone in this journey,” explained Jennifer Armer to Rafols. “There’s always somebody out there that’s going to have your back and that’s what we do. We make sure we have your back.” “One of the families that you helped is actually here,” Rafols told Armer as Ann and her daughter Hope walked in carrying a balloon and flowers.

Two years ago, Hope had a brain tumor removed and the Armer Foundation helped cover the medical costs. “You’re just an answer to my prayers,” Ann told Armer. “I was drowning in medical debt. Just know that Hope had a long road ahead of her and you have changed our lives.”

And the surprises didn’t end there. “I don’t know if you know this, Jennifer,” Rafols said. “But today is National Random Acts of Kindness. So all morning our Surprise Squad has been going out into the community finding people just like you.”

“Good morning, hi, I’m Gibby with our Surprise Squad,” Parra said as he walked into the shop and gave Armer an envelope. “And thanks to the Valley Toyota Dealers and because you were nominated, we would like to give back to your foundation for being there and helping them out.”

“This is amazing,” Armer said as she read the certificate inside the envelope. “Thank you. It’s $1,000 and I can stretch this, every penny and know that it’s going to be helping about six kids right now. This is amazing.” If you would like to contribute to the Armer Foundation, you can do so by going to