By Donna Thornton/News Editor
A simple request via Facebook resulted in a special Valentine’s Day for a special lady.
Tabatha “Tabby” Wooten is the baby sister of her family, and according to her sisters she is “the superglue that holds our family together.”
Tabby, who has Downs Syndrome, is 45, and a student at the Snellgrove Center.
A couple of weeks before Valentine’s Day, her sister Tina McDaniel said, she asked Tabby what she wanted for the coming holiday.
“She said she wanted a bunch of heart cards,” McDaniel said. So McDaniel mentioned on her Facebook page that her sister would like to receive cards, thinking some of her friends might mail out a Valentine. Some of her friends did, as did their friends, and the friends of those friends.
As a result, Feb. 14 found Tabby surrounded by cards, and boxes of candy, and stuffed animals, and gifts of all kinds.
She received 766 cards by Valentine’s Day, and McDaniel said the post office informed her there were “a bunch more” waiting for her.
McDaniel is expecting cards from Israel, Australia and possibly Austria, to go along with the one from Afghanistan and those from all over the U.S.
There were cards from churches, some apparently coming from a class of school children, and a box of goodies from a baseball team.
Tabby’s response was simple and heart-felt: “I love it!” She looked through her gifts and cards on Valentine’s Day, picking first one thing, then another as her favorite.
“She will sit down and read every card,” one of Tabby’s sisters predicted.
“I asked people to print on the cards,” McDaniel said, “because she can read printing easily.” Cursive writing, she said, is harder.
The web-inspired love for Tabby didn’t end on Valentine’s Day.
By Feb. 20, McDaniel said the grand total of 1,051 cards alone, without mentioning all the other gifts, the toys and the candy.
“She keeps looking at everything and saying, ‘they did all this for me?’” she said.
McDaniel said Tabby received something from all but three states, and friends who know people in those states have worked to get cards from those states, too.
She received a package postmarked London, McDaniel said, with markings to indicate it was from “Harry and William,” including a picture of the princes.
McDaniel said they don’t really think it’s from them, but given the amazing response to the request for cards, she wouldn’t be surprised by anything.
For the family, it’s been a wonderful experience, seeing so many people take the time to make Tabby’s Valentine wish come true.
“It still amazes me, the power of Facebook – no, it really wasn’t Facebook – it was the power of people’s feelings for other people,” McDaniel said, that made this happen.