A 3rd grader's mother put a down-payment on her little boy's Christmas present until it was stolen on Black Friday.
But the story has a happy ending. A boy and his bird are now totally inseparable. Ronceverte Elementary 3rd grader Dayton Austin named his exotic parrot "Buddy McBirdy."
It all began when Dayton first laid eyes on Buddy McBirdy for the first time in September. But as Dayton recalls, he didn't choose Buddy, Buddy chose him.
"He actually said I have to have him, it wasn't me saying I have to have him," Dayton Austin remembers.
From that moment, his mother told him the lovable pet would be his Christmas present. She even put a down-payment on the bird right then and there.
That's when things took a turn for the worst.
On Black Friday the bird was stolen. The store owner, Susan, filed a police report and put up posters asking her customers to help bring the little boy's Christmas present back. She said if the bird is found, she'll give Buddy McBirdy to Dayton for free.
"He would come in every day to visit it, someone stole from him, not me. Customers would read the sign and express their anger at someone who stole the boy's gift," said "Susan's World of Pets" owner Susan Boehringer.
It took a few months but finally with customers help the bird was found and as promised, was immediately given to Dayton, free of charge.
"We've recovered the bird and it's his. She brought him in and he was on cloud 99," said Boehringer.
"I jumped up and hugged my mom. It was the best thing ever."
In the meantime, Dayton had written a letter for school about Buddy, saying he was praying for Buddy's safety every night. Get this! Buddy McBirdy only dances for Dayton, and only when he whistles to him. And his favorite song to dance to is the Andy Griffith theme song.
Susan said Buddy would not have been found without the help of her customers and it was a true testament to the compassion of the community that Dayton was finally able to open his Christmas present.