Michelle and Mitchell: 12-year-old and letter carrier form unlikely friendship in Kenosha
A 12-year-old boy surprised his letter carrier over the holidays with a gift that brought her to tears.
Their unlikely friendship started in Kenosha.
"That's a restaurant," said Mitchell Hoepner as he points to one of several buildings in a Lego landscape in the family basement.
Inside the Hoepner household, you'll likely find 12-year-old Mitchell building something with Legos. He's built many sets with his own imagination such as the DeLorean from back to the future complete with Marty McFly and his hover board in the cab. He also built a Walmart from scratch.
"There's a bathroom over here, clothes over here, a checkout over here..." said Mitchell as he shows off all the departments inside the Lego Walmart.
Just before the holidays, he decided to build a USPS mail truck. The final product was meticulous and included mail and packages with gifts inside. Up in the cab, his postal carrier and her coffee.
"I built it, and showed it to my mom because I thought it was cool, and mom said it would be cool if I gave it to michelle as a present so I wrapped it up and put it in a bag," said Mitchell.
Michelle has been the family’s letter carrier for almost a decade.
"I've had a soft spot for Mitchell for a long time, he's my little buddy," said Michelle Badham, USPS Letter Carrier.
Mitchell is on the autism spectrum, and he is home-schooled after years of bullying and medical issues. Seeing the mail truck every day is something he looks forward to each day.
"You don't expect it to happen when you start this job. You don't think anything about that. You're out there doing your job and ... you get attached," said Michelle Badham, USPS Letter Carrier.
Mitchell's mom, Sara Hoepner, says the decision to give his Lego creation as a gift was a big one.
"That really surprised me because you're not allowed to take his Legos. He watches you like a hawk around Legos. He may let you play with them, but he won't take his eyes off of you if your hands are on his Legos... that meant he had to give up something that is a part of who he is. I know how much he cares for other people, he has a heard of gold and wants to be kind to others," said Sara.
Michelle knew right away, the present was priceless.
"He had it hanging on the mail box for me, and so I didn't open it until I got home. It teared my- it made me tear up because I do know his love for legos and it was so sweet," said Badham.
Michelle says the Lego version of her mail truck is now displayed on her tv stand.