Childhood should be a time when we can all live without worries. However, this sadly isn’t the case for some kids. One youngster in Las Vegas, Nevada, was so concerned by her family’s financial situation that she was forced to take matters into her own hands.
In 2011 Ariel Koltes and her mom Natalie moved to a new home in Las Vegas. But, just three years later, the family were facing a crisis. Natalie wasn’t well enough to work, and, as a result, she was struggling to make ends meet.
Inevitably, the Kolteses soon fell behind with their rent payments. And the situation didn’t go unnoticed by nine-year-old Ariel. Every so often, she would watch her mom box up all their belongings, only to then unload them.
Despite everything, Ariel was a grade A student. And she would often go to the local Boys & Girls club to complete her homework and meet with friends. But when money became tight, her visits had to stop.
Eventually, the family had a word with the manager of their apartment block. And thankfully, they agreed to help the struggling mother and daughter. However, the aid would only buy them some time before they would have to pay up.
“When a resident does not pay the rent, we need to do an eviction,” building manager Bernard Sosa told FOX5’s Surprise Squad. “We are working with them [and] trying to give them extra chances. It’s a friendly family.”
But soon, the Kolteses situation grew desperate again. Little Ariel was convinced that she and her mom would lose their home. So, she decided to take matters into her own hands. Consequently, she wrote all her thoughts down in a letter.
“I was afraid that we wouldn’t have anywhere to go,” Ariel later confessed to Surprise Squad. And although she was young, she saw it as her duty to step in. “I have to help her, she’s my mom,” she said.
In her emotional letter, Ariel explained her and her mom’s situation. “My mom is trying so hard to make ends meet,” she wrote. “I don’t want my mom to be under so much pressure… I want her to know someone is there for us.”
With the help of her grandma, Ariel posted the letter. She addressed it to the Surprise Squad. “Please help us with the rent so my mom can focus on getting better,” she pleaded.
Since 2013, Surprise Squad has been surprising residents in Las Vegas. The show’s aim is to improve the lives of local people. To do so, they often help people who work in the community or have gone through a hard time.
And when reporter Stefanie Jay read Ariel’s note, it broke her heart. “The letter from nine-year-old Ariel brought me to tears,” Jay said on FOX5. “Her mind right now is on her mom and how they are going to make rent. No nine-year-old should ever, ever have to worry about something like that.”
As a result, Stefanie and her Surprise Squad team felt compelled to help. So, they paid Ariel’s grandma, Ilima Koltes, a visit. And Ilima was overcome with emotion when she was told that the show was going to help her family.
Next, Stefanie and Ilima walked together to Natalie and Ariel’s apartment to surprise them. “We got a letter from Ariel,” the reporter explained to the shocked mother. “So, because of your daughter, we’re here today.”
“Not only are we going to pay this month’s rent that is due, but we’re also going to take care of next month’s rent for you,” Stefanie told a tearful Natalie. “So you can get back on your feet again.”
Furthermore, the Surprise Squad also gave the family a gift card, so they could pay for everything Ariel needed to go back to school. Moreover, they arranged for her to have a free membership to the Boys & Girls Club of Southern Nevada, where she has enjoyed going.
“Our mission at the Boys & Girls club is to help all kids,” the club’s CEO, Ken Rubeli, told Surprise Squad. “Especially kids that really need us. We’ll never turn a child down if there’s demonstrated financial need.”
Both Ariel and her mom appreciated the gesture. “She wants to grow up too fast. So, the more kiddy stuff the better,” Natalie told FOX5. Meanwhile, Ariel was grateful to have a quiet place to do her homework.
Talking about their previous difficulties, Natalie said, “It’s stress. Just unpacking and packing. I don’t want to keep losing things. I just care about my daughter’s pictures and stuff.”
Thanks to Ariel’s ingenuity, she and her mom were given the chance they needed to better their lives. And, for that, Natalie couldn’t have been prouder. “If it wasn’t for my daughter, I wouldn’t be alive,” she told Surprise Squad. “She’s my hero.”