Carver, a 5-year-old from Oregon, visited the store with his grandmother to shop for items to donate to the firefighters battling the West Coast wildfires. When he stumbled across the last Baby Yoda doll on the shelf, he knew it would be just what the heroes needed. He attached a note to go along with the gift: “Thank you Fire Fighters. Here is a friend for you, in case you get lonely. Love, Carver.” The Baby Yoda has traveled with various crews since then, lifting the spirits of those on the frontline.
SASHA TINNING: It's such a dark time for so many people, and I think this brings that little bit of light and that little bit of hope that we all needed. And it's really touched everyone, and we started it without meaning to.
JAEBYN DRAKE: My name is Jaebyn Drake, and I'm with the Portland Air National Guard.
SASHA TINNING: My name is Sasha Tinning. Carver is my 5-year-old grandson.
JAEBYN DRAKE: And also, I've been activated as a wildland firefighter with them as well.
SASHA TINNING: We heard that there was a supply drive for frontline firefighters. I asked Carver if he would like to go to the store with me, and then he wandered over by the toy aisle. And baby Yoda was on the shelf, and he was the last one. And I looked at Carver, and I said, do you think this would be something the firefighters would like? And he said, yeah, yeah, sure. They could use a friend.
We thought it would be nice to attach a little note. After we dropped it off, we went straight home, and we didn't really think much about it, except just to be happy that we could help. And then a couple days later, we heard about the Facebook page.
JAEBYN DRAKE: I first heard about baby Yoda through some Facebook post somebody posted about Carver donated this baby Yoda to firefighters to help them out and be a friend when they get lonely. So I thought that was just really cool that a little boy, 5 years old, would go out of his way to do something nice for us.
I know a big thing that meant a lot to us is having that note that Carver wrote. This was his way of helping us out and being there for us and showing us that support. A lot of people read the note, and a couple of people teared up-- and just that it reminded them what the work we're doing-- what it actually means and the impact that it has on other people's lives.
A lot of people just get-- can get in bad moods and get down because you're working 14-hour days, 16-hour days. Sometimes, not getting much sleep, and it can be rough for everybody. And being able to have that baby Yoda was just like a big morale boost.
SASHA TINNING: Carver and I are following along. We show him the pictures. He thinks it's cute that baby Yoda is a little bit grubby from fighting fires. He also likes the bandanna that they put on him. He thought that was pretty special.
JAEBYN DRAKE: All of our crew, we-- a lot of time we wear bandannas, and we'll put them around your head to keep the sweat out of your eyes or put them across your face. So I found an American flag bandanna that I had in my backpack. I knew that baby Yoda would need it more than I did. It shows that it's not just any baby Yoda, but it's our baby Yoda-- the one that's going out and fighting fires, and the one that's traveling around and bringing that positivity to everyone.
SASHA TINNING: I think he'll understand more when he's older. He enjoys seeing the pictures, and he enjoys the fact that baby Yoda is bringing smiles to the firefighters. Without meaning to, he really started something special. Even the smallest random act of kindness can go far away.