New parents Breanna and Robert Lopez were on the way to visit their son, Carter, who remained in the hospital months after his birth. As the couple were on their way to the facility, however, a woman stopped them in their tracks – and she would go on to change their lives in the process, too.
Stationed at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada, Airman First Class Robert Lopez and his wife, Breanna, were ready to take the next step in their relationship by having a family. And, in due course, Breanna became pregnant, with the child due to arrive in early 2016.
However, four months ahead of schedule, Breanna started having an unexpected sensation: contractions. And after two days of pain in December 2015, she went to the doctor, who subsequently discovered that the baby Breanna was due to have was in a breech position.
Due to the circumstances involved, then, medical staff knew that they had to deliver the baby. Carter Lee Lopez therefore came into the world prematurely at a weight of only two pounds. Then his kidneys stopped functioning, and he dropped to one pound, 11 ounces.
“They said [Carter] wasn’t going to make it,” Breanna told Fox 5 in 2016. On top of that, she revealed, “They said he has really bad brain damage.” But the couple didn’t give up hope. “Anything can turn around, and it could all be okay,” Breanna added.
And even though Breanna and Robert’s son survived those initial terrifying prognoses, the pair suffered yet another setback. In February – just two months after Carter had been born – the family’s car broke down. The Lopezes couldn’t get a loan to purchase a new vehicle, either.
From there, Breanna and Robert had to rely on loved ones to give them rides to Sunrise Hospital & Medical Center in Winchester, Nevada, just to visit their son. However, it would be on one of those rides with their friend, Jody, that their lives would change.
On that occasion, Jody had also picked up a friend, Sara, who was an expectant mother. And during the journey, Sara asked Breanna and Robert plenty of questions about their baby’s labor and delivery – as many pregnant women would. But the passenger had an ulterior motive.
And Sara would reveal the reason for her being in the car as soon as she, Jody and the Lopezes arrived at Sunrise Hospital. When the couple had gotten out of the vehicle – and right after they had walked through the sliding glass doors – Sara called to them. “Wait, you guys!” she said.
“I’m not Sara,” the woman told the Lopezes when she finally reached them inside the hospital. But that wasn’t all she had to admit. “I’m actually Cassandra Jones with the Fox 5 Surprise Squad, and we’re all very touched by your story,” the passenger went on.
With that revelation, both Breanna and Robert burst into tears – suggesting that they knew exactly who the Surprise Squad were. With help from sponsors United Nissan and America First Credit Union, the Fox 5 team have been awarding life-changing gifts to viewers since 2013.
Today was the Lopezes’ lucky day, Jones went on to tell the pair. “We know that you guys have been through a lot,” she said. Jones then added, “We have something for you,” before handing the couple a small, red box. And when Robert and Breanna cracked the item open, they both simultaneously smiled and cried.
But the entirety of the gift wouldn’t be revealed until the couple stepped outside with Jones. Then, as the two stood at the curb near Sunrise Hospital, they saw what they had been given. “Lopez family,” Jones said, “this is your new car.”
Don Forman, the owner of United Nissan, had also come along to surprise the family with their 2015 Nissan Sentra. “We understand you’re in need of some reliable transportation, so we’re going to give you this [car],” he said.
And inside their new ride, the Lopezes also found a car seat and stroller – both of which had been provided by America First Credit Union. “America First was also very, very touched. We wish you very, very well. The baby well, too,” Denise Mora, a representative of the company, told Breanna and Robert.
New mom Breanna was, unsurprisingly, stunned at the present. “This is unreal, like… my dream. That’s what I was scared of – not having anything to take [Carter] home in or disappointments or anything. And, now, we have it all. We have everything,” she said to Fox 5.
Meanwhile, Breanna’s husband also appeared to be touched by how others had chipped in to make their lives easier. “Just to have people, you know, who support us, who care this much – it really means the world,” Robert said on camera.
Ultimately, though, the pair’s main focus was Carter and his health. “Nothing else matters but him,” Breanna said. Then, after their initial feature on Fox 5, she and Robert went back on the air to reveal that their son was “doing great.” Carter’s mom added, “He has a great personality, and him being home is awesome,” his mom reported.
The newscaster then told the couple how their story had resonated with viewers across the country – including Fox 5’s parent company, the Meredith Corporation. Meredith Corporation CEO Steve Lacy subsequently appeared on screen – and he had one final surprise for the young family.
On behalf of Meredith Corp., Lacy presented the Lopezes with $1,000 to cover their son’s diapers for a full year. And, once again, the new parents broke down crying. Laughing as the tears streamed down her face, Breanna finally said in response to the gift, “That is great. That helps so much, you don’t understand.”