For more than three years, Alyssa Hiple had been painstakingly saving up her spare change. She dreamed of treating her mom to a once-in-a-lifetime experience. So when she had finally collected enough cash, she surprised her mother with the most heartwarming gift.
Alyssa comes from Huntington, Indiana. In 2017, the 22-year-old was a college senior studying at Huntington University in the city. And when she wasn’t working towards her degree, Alyssa spent time with her beloved family.
But while at first glance, Alyssa looked every bit the hometown girl, that wasn’t quite the case. Though the college student may have been Huntington born and bred, her family roots were much more exotic. In fact, she had links to Europe.
Alyssa’s great-great-grandfather came from Italy. As a result, her family felt connected to the Mediterranean country. Her mother in particular had always dreamed of flying across the globe to see where her ancestors came from.
However, such a trip would be expensive. As a result, her vacation to Italy remained a pipe dream for Alyssa’s mother. However, little did she know that her influence had rubbed off on her daughter. “Hearing her talk about it kind of turned it into a dream of mine as well,” Alyssa explained to WINS in December 2017.
But with a European excursion seemingly out of the question, Alyssa and her mom Amy got on with their lives. Rather than jetting halfway around the world, they found other ways to spend time together.
This included getting together on special holidays. So over Christmas 2017, Alyssa was at home with her mom. And to make the occasion even more special, the student had an amazing surprise in store for her mother.
On December 25, Amy awoke to find a trail of five-dollar bills. She followed the money through her kitchen and her dining room, right into her living room. The flow of cash ended at the foot of her Christmas tree, where the true surprise was revealed.
Beneath the tree, Alyssa had left her mom a map of Italy and a large pile of money. Putting two and two together, Amy realized that her daughter had saved up to take her to Europe. And she couldn’t have been happier.
As the incredible moment sank in, an overwhelmed Amy reached out for her daughter and dragged her in for a cuddle. The pair embraced for some time, as Amy stifled her joyful sobs in Alyssa’s shoulder.
It turned out that Alyssa had been squirreling five-dollar bills away for three-and-a-half years. Every time she received a note she would put it towards her fund. And astonishingly, she managed to keep her stash completely secret from her mom.
Explaining her saving technique to NowThis in January 2018, Alyssa said, “They were kind of just change I got from, like, obviously using cash. If I spent $20 and got $5 back as my change then I would just save it and not spend it on anything.”
Once Alyssa had accumulated enough money, she knew exactly how she wanted to spend it. She wanted to use the cash to treat her mother, so that Amy would know just how much she appreciated her.
And Alyssa knew the perfect way to show her gratitude to her mom. “I chose Italy because that’s where her great grandpa is from. My whole life she always talked about how she would love to go to Italy and do anything to go to Italy,” Alyssa told WINS.
Amy was so shocked by her daughter’s generosity that it took a while for everything to sink in. “Honestly, [I] still think I’m trying to process the whole thing,” Amy told NowThis. “I couldn’t believe what was happening but I believed she did it.”
But while Amy was grateful for her daughter’s actions, Alyssa said that the pleasure was all hers. “Honestly it’s a blessing to be able to do this for her,” Alyssa said. “This barely scratches the surface for my attempt to show her how much I appreciate her.”
However, despite Alyssa’s modesty, Amy wasn’t the only one to praise her actions. After a video of her surprising her mom on Christmas Day went viral, the college student found herself bombarded with positive comments online.
Writing on Facebook, Hiple family friend Deb Schlotter said, “You have raised your daughters right Amy. You have sacrificed for them and they are well aware of it. This is awesome! You deserve it and I bet she is so proud to be able to do this for you!”
Once all the excitement around Alyssa’s surprise died down, she and her mom got to work planning their trip to Italy. And it’s already shaping up to be a holiday of a lifetime. They hope to see as much of the country as possible, including famous cities such as Venice and Rome.
But for Amy, the trip is all about discovering her roots. “I would love to be able to go down to Pentone,” she revealed. “But we’ll just have to see what happens.” However, given Alyssa’s habit of making her mom’s dreams come true, it would come as no surprise if the town features somewhere on their itinerary.