When Tyshika Britten posted a message on Craigslist saying her family was facing both an eviction and a Christmas without presents for her five sons and infant daughter, she hoped someone would hear her plea for help. What she didn’t expect was for that person to be Eddie Vedder.
“I’m trying my best,” wrote Britten, a 35-year-old hairstylist, according to the Washington Post. “I pray everyday and now I’m begging for help. I know it’s not about the gifts, but they are kids! I’m such a failure right now . . . please help me.”
Britten’s story quickly spread across the Internet, the Post reports, eventually landing in front of Pearl Jam‘s frontman. Britten’s plea struck a chord with the singer, whose own family struggled to pay for Christmas toys, and he wrote a $10,000 check to help the family get back on their feet financially — and hopefully put at least a few presents underneath the Christmas tree.
While Vedder’s band may have just been accepted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Britten didn’t know who he was when the check arrived. “Is he in a band?” Britten asked, according to the Post. When she went to deposit the check, though, the bank teller looked at the amount and the name on the check and “his head dropped into his hands.”
Vedder didn’t make the donation to earn a new fan, though. “I was just so moved by the story and what this mother did for her children,” Vedder told the Post in an interview. “I thought those kids must be so proud of their mother for reaching out. That takes a lot of courage.”
Vedder wasn’t the only one to bring some Christmas cheer to Britten’s family: Many who read the family’s story sent gifts, toys and clothing to help make sure the Britten family’s holiday was merry and bright.