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Great story about a family that truly has stepped up


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  • Great story about a family that truly has stepped up


    Awesome surprise for Atlanta firefighter with 13 kids

    ATLANTA -- Mario Vieira thinks we're from a city cable show featuring city workers and community service.

    He's about to play the lead role in a massive surprise.

    During this interview, he introduces us to his children... all 13 of them.

    "My wife and I adopted five kids, and we have another three of our own. And we have guardianship of five other kids. That would make 13," Mario said.

    Thirteen is less than they used to have. They had 22 at one time.

    "We wish we could take more. And my wife, she's not done. She has a husband who's a sucker. We say yes. We don't know how to say no a lot," he said.

    Mario's wife, Kristy, stays home with the kids. He supports his extended family with his salary as an Atlanta firefighter.

    "When I go to the station, it's my day off," he laughs. "I love it. I love it. It's a great job. Best job in the world, definitely. It's fun. I get to help people and do what I love and get paid for it. That's the best place to be."

    "We're not rich materially, but we have enough," he added.

    Mario found some of his kids while responding to calls in places where life is hopeless for the adults, impossible for the children.

    "Unfortunately, they really don't have anyone else that could have them," Mario said.

    So, Mario and his wife gave these children things they've never had -- a happy home, siblings, love, peace.

    "Black and white and brown, they're all the same, and they treat each other the same," Mario said, "It's between me and God. There's no money involved. It's a good feeling doing the right thing. It's not always easy being the biggest family around."

    They live in a three-bedroom house with a basement. The basement has bunk beds everywhere. The laundry machines never stop running. The food is always flying off the shelves. They eat in shifts. Outings are rare.

    "We don't get invited many places. If we go to a birthday party, we are the party," he said.

    When you listen to Mario Vieira talk about his job, you can also him him talking about the life he's chosen.

    "The fact that you get a chance to help someone in a difficult moment, that's definitely what I like about the job. If everyone would do a little bit, the whole world would be better," he said. "We are so blessed, and we can share that blessing. Maybe with God and help, we can grow even more one day."

    It's an inspiring story. So 11Alive started quietly sharing it with local businesses.

    By Friday morning, a crowd was waiting for Mario when he arrived for his shift at the Hartsfield-Jackson Fire Department.

    They didn't give to Mario because he asked, they gave because they were inspired to be generous by his own generosity.

    We want to pass along a special thanks to the companies that helped us surprise Mario with this awesome Random Act of Kindness:

    Walmart donated a $1,000 gift card to help provide the family with essentials

    Amazon donated a $250 gift card and assorted toiletries

    Carter's and OshKosh B'gosh children's clothing store donated a gift card for $1,500

    Honey Baked Ham provided breakfast for the early morning surprise crews, Thanksgiving and Christmas vouchers, and a $500 gift card

    Primrose School of Woodstock East gave Mario's children books, backpacks, school supplies, and gift cards to Barnes & Noble. The school also selected Mario's family to be their Caring and Giving project for the holidays. Every year, the school adopts a family and all 140 students and their families provide Christmas gifts.

    Chick-Fil-A donated a gift basket full of stuffed versions of their famous Christmas cow and stacks of gift cards.

    Schwan's will provide dinner for the large family with a $100 gift certificate

    CVS gave a $500 gift card

    Belk at Phipps Plaza and the store manager, Suzie Hartman, donated a $500 gift card

    Mattress Firm donated a $1100 mattress voucher for Mario and his wife. (Sleep is a rare and precious commodity for them!)

    Kroger is helping them cover their massive grocery bills with a $1,000 gift card

    Dunkin Donuts provided coffee and doughnuts for the entire fire house

    QuikTrip donated a $500 gift card

    Rooms To Go will help replace some furniture with a $1,500 gift card

    Zoo Atlanta, the Georgia Aquarium, and the World of Coca-Cola all donated tickets (the family said outings are rare, so this is a big treat!)

    Regal Entertainment Group donated 50 movie tickets

    Papa John's will pick up pizza with a $300 gift card

    Angel Soft is helping provide the essentials with coupons for 50 free packs of bath tissue and facial tissue

    Learning Express toy store will help cover toys for the kids with a $300 gift card
    Last edited by Carbonfiberfoot; 11-22-2014, 05:38 PM.

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