KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — One family received an unexpected gift for their son’s birthday. The gift was an act of kindness from another Knox County couple who lost their son in 2016.
Whitney Ellis posted a photo on several Knox County community group pages thanking the, at the time, anonymous people who paid for her son’s cupcakes at the Kroger in Powell. As of Wednesday, the post had over 1,100 views. Her son, Ellis James, just turned 3 over the weekend.
“He loves cars, trucks, excavators, garbage trucks, all the boy things and we had an excavator, construction theme party for him,” said Whitney.
She went all out for his birthday party, buying balloons and ordering cupcakes with trucks on them. When she went to pick them up, she explained, “she handed me the cupcakes and said, ‘hey I just wanted to let you know that every year this family comes in and they choose like a birthday cake or something to purchase for somebody for a random act of kindness in honor of their son that’s passed away’.”
The gift was in the loving memory of Blake Russell. Blake’s mom, Sonya Russell said, “he was the most giving person. He was very generous. He loved to help people.”
Sonya said this is just her and her husband’s way of honoring their son who passed away in 2016 from liver transplant surgery complications.
“We just ask, if you have a little boy cake being picked up this week could we purchase it? So that’s what we’ve done every year.”
Blake was an Eagle Scout and in the Tennessee Air National Guard. He would have been 39 this year on November 8. His parents celebrate his birthday every year by giving back to others.
“It just makes us feel good,” Sonya said. “It’s something we can do.”
The Russells’ hope it’s a gift that keeps on giving. Whitney said she’s going to do her part to keep the kindness going in her community.
“We were really blessed by them, and it was really special and meaningful, and we will for sure pay that forward to someone else and continue that blessing on,” said Whitney.
Sonya Russell said even though her son’s liver transplant didn’t work for them, their family still stresses the importance of organ donation. The Russell family added that Blake went to Gibbs High School. He enjoyed camping, fishing, and NASCAR.