Christmas comes early for 6-year-old shot in Rancho Tehama
RANCHO TEHAMA, Calif. - Christmas came early Sunday for 6-year-old Alejandro Hernandez, the Rancho Tehama Elementary School student who was shot during the shooting rampage last month.
He's been recovering at home for the last few weeks. Sunday, a group of bikers brought it upon themselves to make sure he had something to smile about this weekend.
Santa and his reindeer took on a whole new look in their biker gear and motorcycles, but had the same idea.
"Delivering happiness and love," said the man dressed as Santa, also known as Uncle Ted Evans.
They rode through Rancho Tehama a little louder than usual to make one very special delivery to Alejandro Hernandez, with toys, coloring books, a stuffed animal and more in hand.
Hernandez was shot twice at school, once in the foot and the a second time in the chest.
"I was really happy that they came over to bring some joy for him from all this happening," said his mother, Angelica Monroy.
"The main thing is for him to get over his fear and know that these things aren't going to happen to him again and we're gonna make sure we're here to see that it doesn't," said George Degrace, organizer of the delivery.
Alejandro got to ride their sleigh too, and while he stayed his usual timid self, it was easy to tell he was excited.
"He was so excited when I told him," said Monroy. "He got really happy."
Acts of kindness like these are what's helping Alejandro and his mother heal. "I have to be strong for Alex," she said. "Every time I cry, he tells me mom, I'm okay, don't cry."
Hernandez's mother said it is still hard for both of them to confront what happened November 14.
"Especially because he still has a bullet in his chest. He's only 6 years old, that breaks my heart," Monroy cried.
Sunday was one of the rare times Alejandro was found without his tablet or some other electronic device. Monroy said the counselor explained that the games he plays on those devices are a way of coping and enable him to escape reality.
"I suffer from PTSD also so I can share his feelings you know. He's just gonna have to talk it out, get some good counseling," said Degrace. "Last thing that's in his mind is what happened that day, so we just gotta change the picture in his mind."
Alejandro still said he's not returning back to school, but in the meantime it's apparent that he's surrounded by love and support from a community who would give their Sunday just to see him smile.
The bikers are a group of friends that ride together in and around Rancho Tehama. After hearing Alejandro liked motorcycles, they made the delivery happen in just 48 hours.