ROSWELL, Ga. — Becoming a new mom in the middle of a pandemic was far from what Jessica Kitchel had ever planned. A few weeks before Christmas, this Atlanta-area resident gave birth to her son, Chancy.
"It's been pretty isolating being in the house not being able to leave. And once my husband went back to work, the walls started closing in," Kitchel said.
While mom and baby are perfectly healthy, the holidays and COVID brought about a particularly profound sense of loneliness this year.
It was on one of those rough days in December when Kitchel was waiting for a shipment of Bobbie baby formula for her newborn. When the doorbell rang, she had expected to just find a box, but instead, found a gift waiting to be unwrapped.
In the weeks leading up to Kitchel's delivery, UPS driver Dallen Harrell had noticed the blue stork balloons tied to the family's mailbox. A new dad himself, Harrell decided to leave Kitchel a message as he dropped off her delivery.
In the video message, which has now gone viral, Harrell can be heard saying, "If this is the, 'It’s a Boy House,' I hope all is going well with your newborn. I had a child around the same time you guys did. I hope everything is going good. God bless."
And then the message ended.
"We get deliveries a lot and I’ve never had anyone leave a message. I was blown away. I thought he was like an angel that came to my door," Kitchel said after finding the video.
Just two days after posting the clip to Instagram, Kitchel was able to find Dallen Harrell, the UPS driver who had left the message.
"I was hesitant if I was even at the right house, hesitant if I should say something," Harrell said about the video.
Harrell never expected anyone to see his doorbell cam checkup, and he certainly didn’t expect the gifts he’d soon get in return.
After Kitchel shared the video on social media, there was an outpouring of support for Harrell and his new family. Strangers were so moved they ended up buying out Harrell's entire baby registry, which had been sitting untouched for three months.
"He and his fiancé had not had a baby shower. They hadn’t had a lot of gifts given to them. They had made a registry that was untouched," Kitchel explained.
For Harrell, the whole experience has been life-changing. After seeing the video, UPS decided to offer this seasonal driver a full-time job.
In the last month, the video has circulated around the globe, and Harrell hopes it can be the kind of gift which is appreciated year-round.
"I just hope this will restore faith in humanity, and I hope the message behind, people continue to pay it forward."