WestJet performs 'mini-miracle' for St. John's family in need

WestJet got into the holiday spirit this week, by helping out a St. John's family in need as part of its national charity campaign.

Airline employees across Canada don blue Santa hats for annual charity

A retired husband and wife on disability receive a Christmas miracle from WestJet 1:44

WestJet got into the holiday spirit this week by helping out a St. John's family in need as part of its national charity campaign.

Every year on Dec. 9, the company performs what it calls "mini-miracles," with the goal of helping a minimum of 12,000 organizations and families across Canada over a 24-hour period.

Joy Hickey had seen previous stories of families featured in the campaign, and wrote in to see if hers could be so lucky. 

Joy Hickey never expected writing to WestJet would actually result in her family receiving donations as part of the national campaign. (CBC)

Hickey never expected WestJet employees would come to her home Wednesday with a Christmas poinsettia, presents and all the fixings for Christmas dinner.

"I can't believe it, I'm so happy and appreciative, I just never thought this could happen to us," she told CBC News after receiving the donations.

"Christmas has been a little bit stressful because we retired the past couple of years, and we went from our hometown to Grand Falls to [St. John's] — and we just recently moved again last month."

WestJet employees unloading food and Christmas gifts to donate to Joy Hickey's family on Wednesday in St. John's. (CBC)

With finances tight, Hickey said she wrote WestJet almost out of desperation — never thinking she would actually get a response. 

"When you're on a set income, it's hard to get things for all the kids and grandchildren," she said.

"This year was even worse. It's really stressful and I was wondering what I was going to do. I was wondering, 'Do I buy gifts and not have anything to eat for a couple of weeks, what do I do?'" she said.

WestJet employees wore the campaign's signature blue Santa hats while stocking up on supplies for Hickey and her family.

Lisa Gibbs, guest service ambassador with WesJet. (CBC)

Lisa Gibbs, guest service ambassador with the company, said recipients are often groups or charitable organizations but after receiving Hickey's letter, the airline wanted to make an exception. 

"This particular family just fell on hard times this year," she said.

"They can't afford to have a nice Christmas for their kids and grandkids, so their names just came across our laps and we just decided we would surprise them if we could."