Follow ABC7's Luz Pena as she surprises Bay Area workers with 'Thank You' messages on Thanksgiving

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Friday, November 24, 2023
Bay Area workers surprised with 'Thank You' messages on Thanksgiving
Who is working Thanksgiving?! Many people are working this holiday including first responders missing out on family time to help others.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Who is working Thanksgiving?! Like us here at ABC7, many people in the Bay Area are working this holiday. Some are first responders missing out on family time to help others.

ABC7 news reporter Luz Pena surprised many of them to say "thank you."

On a day where it's all about gratitude, we went on a mission to spread just that.

Luz Pena: "We just got some flowers to say thank you to many who typically don't hear those words. Can't wait to give them out!"

In San Francisco's Chinatown, we spotted a beloved paramedic named Kieu Ha. Ha is part of the team that was giving out food for seniors.

Kieu Ha: "We just finished this route. Thirteen meals and then we have a second route for a total of 15 more meals. This is on the other side of the avenues."

MORE: Here's how South Bay advocates are helping the unhoused community on Thanksgiving

Like other places in the Bay Area, many people in San Jose were not fortunate enough to spend Thanksgiving indoors.

Kieu has been a paramedic for 7 years. We surprised Ha with flowers to say "thank you" for all she does for the community.

For the next surprise, we got an accomplice. We arrived at the Salvation Army where a thanksgiving event was taking place and San Francisco Fire Lieutenant Mariano Elias was working.

Luz Pena: "Mariano, how many years have you been a San Francisco firefighter?"

Mariano Elias: "I have been a San Francisco firefighter for over 23 years."

Mariano has worked many thanksgiving days and said, "Over the years it's become customary, but when I stop and think about it, I miss my family."

Mariano's oldest daughter Kayla Elias sent him a recorded message:

"Happy thanksgiving dad, we are super grateful for all you do and thank you for working today. We are super proud of you! Love you!"

In tears, Mariano Elias talked about his kids, "I love my kids. It's tough. Fortunately, this job has allowed me to provide as a father for my children and they are outstanding kids."

MORE: Oakland community block party puts local spin on Thanksgiving dinner

Oakland is going old school with a community block party this Thanksgiving with over 1,000 meals served.

On our way to the next location, we noticed a SamTrans bus driver on a break and surprised her with flowers.

"I appreciate it. You are going to make me cry! Thank you so much I appreciate you," said Tamika Walker and added, "I don't get flowers!."

Our next stop was UCSF's Parnassus campus. For this next surprise, we also had help from a young accomplice.

"I'm missing my family this year. I sent them all off to visit my in-laws because I'm working today, tomorrow and Saturday," said Dr. Jahan Fahimi, Medical Director for the Emergency Department at UCSF Parnassus campus.

MORE: Salvation Army delivering Thanksgiving meal boxes in SF

Volunteers in San Francisco are up early helping the Salvation Army deliver Thanksgiving dinner meals to people who need them most.

Luz Pena: "I got a message from somebody who wanted to say something to you this thanksgiving!"

"Happy Thanksgiving daddy, thank you so much for working on Thanksgiving! I'm making fuse beads with my cousins. Layla, I think she misses you too! I'll save you some pie. Love you!," said Mila.

Dr. Jahan Fahimi: "That's amazing! That is my daughter, Mila. I like that she points out that maybe her younger sister is also missing me. That is very, very sweet. Makes me miss her more for sure."

Thank you to all our first responder working the holidays!

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