An Ohio man mistakenly included in a family’s group chat is now embracing the role, sending an epic care package to a deployed soldier he's never met.
It all started a few months ago, when Mark Chalifoux, of Cincinnati, said he started receiving text messages and tried to make it clear that he wasn’t supposed to be in the chat.
“It was a pic of a little kid smiling with an old lady, and the text said 'Always loves going to grammy’s!'" Chalifoux told InsideEdition.com. “I responded with ‘Looks like he’s having a blast!’ thinking they’d realize their mistake and remove me from the thread.”
But that wasn’t the case, as more messages followed.
The next day, Chalifoux said he received a picture of the same child and all the family’s input on how cute the kid was, but he replied, “I don’t know why I’m part of this, but I’m happy that kid got his car.”
One of the family members replied, “Because you are family!” Chalifoux said.
He said the messages went silent after that for about two weeks until but then he received another message from the group chat, a picture of four soldiers, one of them named Christian (name changed for privacy), who was apparently part of the family.
The text read: “Christian and his unit shipping out for six months.”
Chalifoux said he asked which one was Christian, thinking they’d know he wasn’t supposed to be in the chat, but one of the family members just responded “Second row next to the emblem.”
“I said I am just going to fully embrace it and called him a patriot in the chat. And everyone responded with the flag emojis,” Chalifoux said.
But the next text made Chalifoux feel like he should help a stranger out.
One of the family members texted the group chat about how to send Christian a package overseas while he’s deployed.
Chalifoux wanted to send Christian such a package — of 3,000 cookies.
“I posted on Facebook about it and people said they wanted to chip in so I decided to start the GoFundMe,” Chalifoux said. "I don’t know if I’ll send some other things too."
So far, 90 people have contributed to the GoFundMe and Chalifoux has exceeded his $1,000 goal.
“I just said I’ll let it be a surprise when it shows up. I am hoping he’ll be encouraged that 90 people contributed and it will let him know that someone cares,” Chalifoux said. "Families are making much bigger sacrifices than most of us are. It’s a nice way for people to show some gratitude and support."
The soldier's real name has been changed in this story for privacy purposes