Boy’s New Bike Is Gift From Heaven

A brave boy gets the gift his mom promised, before her life was cut short.

By Whitney Southwick
|  Saturday, Dec 12, 2009  |  Updated 7:44 AM PDT
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Martha Castillo, 29, was the mother to Jose Rodriguez's 11-year-old son, their 5-year-old daughter and their newborn son, Nicholas Theodore Vincent.
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A boy who recently experienced a heartbreaking tragedy is being called a symbol of courage.

11-year-old Adrian Castillo’s mother, nine months pregnant and suffering from the H1N1 virus, never made it out of the hospital.

Her baby was taken via c-section.

Amanda Silva, the Principal at Naranca Elementary School, described how Adrian responded with dignity and courage.  Already considered to be warm, kind, and a natural leader by the teachers and staff, she says young Adrian is strong and mature beyond his years.

"The morning after she passed away Adrian was at school early to take care of his Safety Patrol responsibilities", Silva said.

He apparently told a staff member about his mother and the front office responded the way you would imagine.

"We brought him to the office, assuming he needed something -- a warm space, a hug," Silva said.

She surprised at the response she got.

"Adrian told us that the best thing for him would be to have a normal day," the staff said.

That's what he had and has continued to have every day since.

"He's been a role model for students and adults on our campus in that respect, " Silva said. "He makes a point of smiling, carries on with his work and responsibilities with a sense of pride and reflectively speaks about his mother."

In her letter to the Salvation Army nominating Adrian for the Bikes for Kids program, Silva also pointed out that Adrian's mother had promised him a new bike for his birthday on October 30. 

When the hospital bills and funeral expenses made it impossible for the family to follow through on the promise, up stepped the Salvation Army.

This week, in front of his classmates, teacher and school principal, Adrian Castillo's name was called out and a brand new bicycle presented to him for his bravery, dedication to school and "role model" attitude.

About all Adrian could say, along with a big thank you to those responsible, was that he looked at the bike as a gift -- a gift from heaven, a birthday gift from his mom, the fulfillment of her promise.

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