A mother called police to help look for her son, who was secretly trying to make money to buy her a Christmas gift

A single mother who spent her savings to move her family into a new apartment was overcome with worry when her son kept disappearing—but unbeknownst to her, her loving children were planning a Christmas surprise.

Sophia Reed recently moved to Oklahoma City after her husband suddenly left her. The move used up most of her savings thanks to the security deposit and rent, and Reed planned to share a nice Christmas dinner with her four children in lieu of buying presents she couldn’t afford.

“We was expecting a nice dinner for Christmas and just be together and just show love to each other,” Reed told CBS 11.

But as the family settled into their new home and surroundings, Reed became increasingly concerned as her 13-year-old son, Darius, kept disappearing for hours on end. So the worried mother turned to the police while Darius was on one of his mysterious excursions in mid-December, and that’s when it was revealed what her son and his siblings were up to.

“I was afraid he was going to get in trouble,” Reed’s daughter, Deneisha, told Oklahoma 4 News. “I just didn’t want to say anything because it would blow the whole thing.”

Darius told Officer Roland Russell of the Oklahoma City Police Department—who responded to Reed’s call—that he was collecting hundreds of cans to raise money and bring some Christmas cheer to his mother. At that point, the young boy had collected $13.

“On my way out to my car, I go down the stairs and I see him sitting there,” Russell told KOCO News. “It was, like probably, 30 degrees outside, and he had a little T-shirt on.”

After learning what he was up to, Russell decided to keep Darius’ secret, and went back to his station to spread the word with the intention of helping the 13-year-old on his mission. With Russell’s support, the department was able to raise about $800 to buy gifts for Reed and her children, just in time for Christmas.

“I started getting messages from all kinds of people,” Russell said. “I didn’t think I was going to and it ended up turning into a pretty big deal.”

The children’s surprise for their mother turned into a Christmas miracle for the entire family: Reed received clothes, Darius got a bike, and 4-year-old Lauren opened a set of toys, while the other two children got their own collection of gifts. To top it all off, officers even brought the family some freshly cooked pizzas. The OC Police Department posted an adorable video showing the children opening their gifts on YouTube.

As for Darius, he said there was no question why he would go out for those long hours in search of dozens of cans.

“I just wanted to do something for my mama,” he told Oklahoma 4 News.