'Gobsmacked': Dying senior leaves 14 Christmas gifts to neighbour's baby girl
When 87-year-old Ken Watson died, he left his neighbour’s two-year-old daughter a series of Christmas gifts — one for each of the next 14 years.
Published Wednesday, December 19, 2018 2:17PM EST
Last Updated Wednesday, December 19, 2018 4:07PM EST
Christmas won’t be the same for Owen Williams or his family for the next 14 years — and it’s all thanks to the literal parting gifts from his late neighbour.
On Monday, the Welsh father posted on Twitter about how his elderly neighbour Ken Watson had passed away and left his family something besides memories of friendship.
He described how Watson’s daughter had come over to his house with a giant plastic bag filled to the brim with 14 gifts.
“In the sack were all the Christmas presents he’d bought for *our* daughter,” he wrote online, later adding that, “he always told us he’d live till he was a hundred years old, so these gifts would have taken him up to our little girl’s 16th Christmas.”
Williams said the gesture took him by surprise.
“I was speechless. Gobsmacked,” he wrote in a text to CTVNews.ca. “It’s a breathtaking thing. Words rarely fail me, but this was a rare occasion.”
On Twitter, he wrote: “My wife and I think it might make a nice Christmas tradition to give our daughter, ‘a present from Ken’ for the next 14 years.”
William’s daughter Cadi is only two years old but she’d have a new gift until 2032. Williams polled Twitter users on whether the gifts should be opened all at once or doled out to her until her teens.
Over 69 per cent of the 67,000 people polled voted for the family to do the latter. Williams said they plan to honour that.
“It'll be our way of remembering an immensely generous gentleman — our new Christmas tradition,” he said online. “We'll add the pics to this thread for as long as Twitter is still a thing!”
Although he mused that some of the gifts might not make sense for a teenager, Williams said that won’t matter.
'The real spirit of Christmas, don't you think?'
“Even if she doesn't appreciate the gift itself, the sentiment and the thought behind it is the important thing here,” he told CTVNews.ca. “It's the real spirit of Christmas, don't you think?”
They’ve already opened one of the gifts which was the book, “Christmas Eve at the Mellops'” by Tomi Ungerer. The French writer-artist even reached out to Williams online and said he would love to sign the book for Cadi.
Williams said the attention his story has received has been staggering. His story has been covered by several news outlets and even became a Twitter moment.
“It’s been an insane 24 hours,” he told CTVNews.ca., adding that “Ken’s family have been utterly overwhelmed.”
Williams took to Twitter to share who Watson was besides being a neighbourly Santa Claus. He wrote about Watson’s love for the accordion and his plan to do a second “wing walk.”
When Watson did his first wing walk, he was profiled and revealed how he had sought more adventure ever since his 86-year-old wife Beryl died in February 2012.
“Ken was a former salvage diver, seaman, carpenter, baker,” Williams also wrote about Watson. “The first time I met him, he was bouncing a 20 ft. (six metre) ladder across the face of his house. He was on top. He was 83 at the time.”
Williams added that Watson would regularly give his dog chocolate biscuits and call her “my darling” and “sweetheart.”
While Watson’s last gesture was a surprise, it’s not out of character. He’d given Williams’ daughter a Christmas gift ever since she was born.
But when it came to the 14 gifts, he called it, “utterly unexpected.”
Our elderly neighbour passed away recently. His daughter popped round a few moments ago clutching a large plastic sack. In the sack were all the Christmas presents he’d bought for *our* daughter for the next thirteen years. pic.twitter.com/6CjiZ99Cor— Owen Williams (@OwsWills) December 17, 2018
Tomi Ungerer's team has DM'd me.— Owen Williams (@OwsWills) December 18, 2018
Tomi was really touched by the story, and would love to sign the book… https://t.co/C55QPOrpIo