An 8-year-old girl’s holiday wishes came true this week after a Patagonia man found a wish list she wrote to Santa.

On Sunday, Randy Heiss was walking his dog in a remote area near his Patagonia home when he found a red balloon tangled in a desert plant.

At first he thought it was trash. But then he realized it was a balloon, and attached to the ribbon was a note.

“Lo and behold, it was from a little girl,” Heiss says.

The note was written entirely in Spanish with the name “Dayami” on the back. He isn’t fluent in the language, but could tell she asked for magic markers and a coloring book, among other toys.

No contact information was left on the note, so Heiss took it to social media.

“I said, ‘Well, social media has a lot of power,’ so I posted it on my Facebook account and shared it with friends,” Heiss says. “I had faith I could find her.”

A couple days passed and Heiss didn’t have any leads. So, he decided to reach out to Radio XENY, a station in Nogales, Sonora.

The station posted Heiss’ story to their Facebook page and within an hour, they were able to find 8-year-old Dayami.

Cesar Barron, who works for Radio XENY, even sent Heiss a video that showed Dayami sending off the red balloon.

“There are lots of miracles here,” Heiss says. “It’s a miracle I found (the balloon) in the first place.”

Heiss went to Walmart and picked up some gifts that Dayami asked for. He also bought some items for Dayami’s sister.

Heiss and his wife then made the trip across the border to deliver the presents. When meeting the family, they told Dayami that they were Santa’s helpers and were delivering the gifts in his place.

“It was such a wonderful thing,” he says. “They were asking really cute things about Santa.”

Heiss said he lost his only son nine years ago and has no grandchildren, so this experience was a beautiful and healing one for him.

“Love has no borders,” he says.

“For that moment, we were one country and one people.”

Contact reporter Gloria Knott at or 573-4235. On Twitter: @gloriaeknott

Metro Producer

Gloria is a Tucson native and attended the University of Arizona. She started at the Star as an apprentice in 2017. Following her apprenticeship, she began freelancing until becoming a full-time reporter and producer after her college graduation in 2018.