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Area McDonalds donate 15,000 toys to boy
Jaden gift to RMHC4
Jaden Hayes, 6, of Savannah, presents a gift basket of toys to Ronald McDonald Saturday after he received more than 15,000 toys, which he plans to give away in and around Savannah. - photo by Photo provided.

The Savannah-area McDonalds restaurants surprised Jaden Hayes with a donation of more than 15,000 toys Saturday.

McDonald’s Chief Happiness Officer Ronald McDonald was also on hand to greet  Jaden and his family.

“After seeing his story, we all were inspired to donate the toys we had available and help Jaden achieve his goal of spreading 33,000 smiles,” Richmond Hill McDonald’s Owner/Operator Gary Stanberry said.

Jaden is a 6-year­old boy who lost both parents in the past year. After seeing so many sad faces, he decided to do something about it. Jaden embarked on a smile experiment in which he would hand out small toys on River Street and in City Market, only asking for a smile in return.

Eight local McDonalds owner/operators were there to present Jaden with the toys and free Happy Meals every week for a year. All 15 owner/operators, who represent the 54 Savannah-area McDonald’s restaurants, donated toys.

They also recognized Barbara DiCola, Jaden’s aunt and guardian, for not only taking care of Jaden but also her support of his goal to spread smiles. McDonald’s presented her with Extra Value Meals every week for a year and a gas card to help get Jaden around and continue spreading smiles.

“Jaden has been through tremendous losses and at such a young age, yet he still wants to bring others happiness,”  Stanberry said. “That is something we all, young and old, should try to do as well.”

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