Tony Wood was at home with his kids one day when he received a message from a number he didn’t recognize. But although the text was clearly sent by accident, Tony chose not to ignore it; instead, he sent something awesome in reply. And, as it happens, that response would in turn lead to a chain of events for which the dad is eternally grateful.
In March 2018 a girl by the name of Syd hit stores to find a formal gown for an upcoming event. One of the options she had considered was a stunning floor-length number complete with bejeweled detailing. But before purchasing the dress, there was something that Syd needed to do.
Like a lot of girls, Syd wanted to get one of her friends’ opinions before she splurged on the dress. As a result, she snapped a couple of photos of herself wearing the gown to send to a pal. But, rather hilariously, the process didn’t quite go as planned.
That’s because instead of sending the photographs to one of her girlfriends, Syd managed to text them to someone else entirely. Unfortunately, she had used the wrong phone number, and so the photos of her in the backless ballgown had ended up with a total stranger.
And the unsuspecting recipient of Syd’s photos was a man named Tony. A father to six children who lives in Tennessee, Tony was probably not expecting to see snaps of a random girl in a ballgown pop up on his cell phone.
But although Tony had had no idea who the person in the photos was, he nevertheless still wanted to reply to the message. He told the Daily Mail in March 2018 that his own daughters worried about their appearances, so he could understand that the anonymous girl might also want reassurance that she looked good in the dress.
As a consequence, Tony decided to answer the stranger and let her know that she looked fantastic. And the particular way in which he did it was heartwarming. He replied by saying, “I believe this message was intended for someone else. My wife isn’t home so I couldn’t get her opinion.”
Then Tony wrote, “But the kids and I think you look stunning in your dress! You should definitely go with that one!” And if that message wasn’t kind enough, Tony went one step further and sent Syd a photo reply, too. That snap in turn would melt hearts online.
After the message of reassurance about the gown, Syd received a sweet photo of Tony’s kids – an adorable picture of five of them giving her a “thumbs up.” And the Tennessee man’s response was awesome enough to prompt one of Syd’s friends to post the exchange on Twitter.
Sure enough, the story attracted plenty of attention online; within a short space of time, the post was retweeted thousands of times, and the likes kept on rolling in, too. People just couldn’t get enough of Tony’s lovely response, it seemed.
Before long, though, the image of Tony’s kids captured people’s attention in particular. Why? Well, it turned out that one of Tony’s six children wasn’t in the picture. And the reason why was truly heartbreaking.
Specifically, four-year-old Kaizler hadn’t made it into the photo because he was in hospital; he had been suffering from leukemia and was having chemotherapy treatment that day. And when people heard about the little boy’s cancer battle, the way they reacted was amazing.
Indeed, those online discovered that there was a GoFundMe page set up in honor of Kaizler – a family friend had established it to help with the costs of the little boy’s treatment. And so, after the dress story had gone viral and news of Kaizler’s fight had spread, people rushed to donate money to the cause.
Tony himself couldn’t contain his amazement at the influx of contributions, and he would go on to express his gratitude towards the Twitter community on his own page on the social media site. “The kindness and generosity of Twitter and other venues saw our GoFundMe account surpass our goal last night!” he wrote.
And Tony seemed to be particularly overwhelmed when the GoFundMe account had raised more than $3,000. “That’s more than we had donated in total over the last two years. It’s been amazing and is a bigger blessing than anyone could ever know. We were backed up to a financial wall,” he explained.
Tony continued, “I’ve been working the entire time, but I was slowly but surely succumbing to the financial rigors of the situation.” Thanks to kind individuals online, though, things were looking up financially for the man and his family. As for Kaizler himself? Well, even though he is now in the “maintenance phase,” he still has to continue with his treatment until 2019.
But there was yet more positivity to come out of this story. The GoFundMe campaign for Kaizler has now reached a whopping $53,000, having totally smashed the original goal of $10,000. With that in mind, Tony updated the blurb on the page to bring attention to another little boy in need.
That boy’s name is Finn, and he too has cancer. However, his only chance of survival relies on radiation and surgery. That’s why Tony and his family wanted to use the “undeserved attention” they received off the back of the dress photographs to help another family, too.
And as a result, the GoFundMe page was updated to say, “By blessing this family, you will be blessing us! Please, help us help them… Please follow this link to Finn’s funding page and show Finn and his family the same love and support you’ve shown to us. Their need is great, and they could really use a heavy dose of God’s love and light in their life right now!”
But the last words should go to Tony’s wife, Rachel. She spoke to BoredPanda in March 2018, saying that it was “refreshing to be reminded that there are good people in the world who still care about others.” She added that she was thankful “from the bottom of my heart for all the kind words, all the prayers, all the donations, all the love and support.”