SALEM TOWNSHIP, Pa. -- When Hamlin Fire & Rescue Deputy Chief Gene Koch was sent to put out a car fire on Christmas Eve, gifts were the last thing on his mind.
"We extinguished the fire quickly with my crew, and as we were putting the hose back on the truck, a guy yelled over to me that these kids wanted to talk to me," said Koch.
Those kids were 11-year-old twins Nicholas and Antonio.
The car fire happened on their street in Hamlin.
They wanted to show their appreciation to the firemen so they handed the deputy chief a donation straight out of their piggy banks.
Koch was overwhelmed by the gesture.
"I used to be Chief here and I started getting away from it because there's too much negativity and it was bringing me down and this just built me right up," said Koch.
So he decided to repay the favor, returning later that day with a bag full of gifts for the boys.
"They were speechless when I walked in," said Koch.
The fire company shared the story on social media and received an outpouring of positive responses from the community.
Koch hopes people will be inspired to extend the season of giving all year long.
"A simple smile, a hello, to a stranger makes their day. You never know," said Koch.
And Koch wouldn't be surprised if Nicholas and Antonio are one day wearing these helmets themselves.
"When I got to the house, they were talking about 'how old do you have to be to join the fire company?' and their toys are Legos to build firemen with," said Koch.
A donation, two new recruits, and a priceless memory.
It's safe to say that Hamlin Fire and Rescue had a very Merry Christmas.