PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- Normally when the Surprise Squad team is planning a surprise, they reach out to the person who nominated a special someone.  But not this time.  That’s because the young woman who nominated her former foster mother Patricia is in boot camp for the Marines and is out of state.  So the Surprise Squad reached out to the foster mom’s biological daughter, Ramona.

“Let’s start from the beginning,” 3TV’s Tess Rafols said to Ramona after they met at a Gilbert park.  “You get this call from someone at Arizona’s Family to tell you someone has nominated your mom.  What are your first thoughts on this?

“I’m totally surprised,” Ramona replied. “It was really cool because of who it was that nominated her.  Aaliyah has been my mom’s foster daughter for over seven years.”

“Tell me a little bit about your mom,” Rafols said.

“She’s a therapeutic foster parent for 17 years. It’s really cool to see that she touches other people like that.”

“What words would you use to describe your mom?” Rafols asked. “Because there’s so many that come to my mind just hearing about her.  I haven’t even met her yet.  So someone who’s her daughter, what words come to your mind?”

“Stable. Strong. Determined,” Ramona answered.

Ramona and the Surprise Squad then headed over to Patricia’s nearby home and knocked on the door.  “Oh my goodness,” Patricia said when she opened up and saw the crew outside.

“Hi Patricia.  I am Tess with Arizona’s Family Surprise Squad,” Rafols said.  “We are here because we heard about how you had this pretty amazing lifelong career of helping kids.”  

“Been doing it about 20 years,” Patricia said.  “And I can’t even tell you how many kids I’ve had.  And I help them to develop their skills and their gifts.  Kids are kids and you just love them in spite of themselves. And that’s what  they’re looking for.  They’re looking for love.”

“In fact, it’s not Ramona who wrote to us,” Rafols said.  “It was Aaliyah.  She was the one who wrote Arizona’s Family a letter and we have that letter, actually.  And Ramona, if you wouldn’t mind reading it.”

Ramona took the letter from Rafols and read it aloud.  “I’m here on behalf of my former foster mother, Patricia. I was 11 when I first landed in her home. I was broken, sheltered, weary of everyone around me until I met her. But about a month ago she found out that her teeth were loose and she was going to lose most if not all of her teeth. She can’t afford the dental implants her dentists are suggesting. She just simply doesn’t have the money.”

“You made that impact on a person’s life and it sounds like so many others,” Rafols said.  “And that’s why Arizona’s Family Surprise Squad along with your Valley Toyota Dealers are here to say thank you.” She handed Patricia an envelope.  “Go ahead and open it up.”

“$6000!" Patricia gasped when she read the certificate inside. Thank you, Aaliyah."

“$6000 for you to be able to take care of your teeth, take care of your car,” Rafols explained. “Take care of any other expenses you need to for your house because you’re always spending your money on everybody else and all those kids you take care of. So it’s one way that Arizona’s Family Surprise Squad and your Valley Toyota Dealers can say thank you for what you’ve done for so many kids in our community.

“Thank you, thank you,” Patricia said with tears of joy in her eyes.

“This is some blessing," she said as her daughter gave her a tight hug. 


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