MILWAUKEE, Wis. (WTMJ) – Natalee Santiago loves climbing into bed. That’s somewhat unusual for a 2-year-old, but her second birthday present makes all the difference.
It’s a set of stairs, specially made by a group of unexpected friends.
Natalee has a form of Dwarfism, which requires her to practice skills like shifting weight.
Natalee’s mom, Brenda Santiago, went to Home Depot thinking she’d build the steps herself. She spent 20 minutes with Rob Rafalski going over her schematic. He took it to make a copy.
“When I walked away I kind of already knew I was going to ask permission to build it for her,” said Rafalski.
“I was like, did I hear this right?” recalls Santiago.
She did. And Rafalski gathered a team to build the stairs in a hurry. They only had two days until Natalee turned two.
“When I explained the project and who it was for, we all just kind of ran with it,” he said.
Rafalski had help from people in all departments. They built the steps, painted them Natalee’s choice of purple and even put her name and princess decals on.
On Tuesday, Santiago got the call the steps were ready. She was surprised to see the extent the team went.
“It was extremely unexpected, but I was extremely- just in awe,” she said.
The team gifted Natalee the beautiful steps, along with a Care Bear stuffed toy and her own Home Depot apron.
Rafalski said he loves helping people and the company does projects like this for people when they can.
Santiago said the gifts were sweet, but seeing how the Home Depot team embraced Natalee’s difference was greater.