Real-life ‘superhero' travels to all 50 states to deliver holiday gifts to underprivileged children

This Christmas season, Santa Claus, isn't the only one delivering happiness and spreading cheer. The team behind 'A Future Super Hero' and 'Friends' is making sure that this December brings holiday happiness to underprivileged kids, veterans, elders, and even animals. For the fourth consecutive year, Yuri Williams and his companion Rodney Smith Jr. have traveled across 50 states in 20 days to make connections and assist others. This year, Smith served as Williams' elf companion as he dressed as a Scout Trooper for the adventure. “It all started from [when] I lost my mother to an eight-year battle with cancer in 2009. I fell into a five-year depression period and decided to create this nonprofit to service veterans, children with special needs, children with disabilities, those battling illnesses, the hospice community, seniors, and even animals,” Williams told “Good Morning America.”
The pair began their journey in Kentucky as they did in 2017, 2018, and last year, with Smith driving them around the 48 contiguous states. First, they traveled through the western states before tackling the eastern states, and finally, they flew to Alaska. Along the route, they paid visits to homes, stopped at animal shelters, loaded up on toys, and posed with state symbols, but most importantly, they spent time with those who needed it the most—both people and animals. Even though they hardly get any sleep while working on their quest, Smith claimed that it is what keeps them both going.

They concluded their final trip to Hawaii for 2022 on Monday, where they visited 6-year-old Jaysden and two other needy kids at a Marriott hotel in Waikiki. Jaysden had proton radiation therapy after being identified as having the cancerous brain tumor medulloblastoma in April. In addition, his mother Xena Kaeo has confirmed that he is receiving chemotherapy. Despite being reserved, his mother claimed that her timid son was shocked and delighted to receive several gifts from Williams and Smith, including his favorite - Pokémon cards. “It made his Christmas much brighter,” Kaeo told “GMA,” saying that he has already unwrapped a few presents but would save the rest until Christmas.

“He was kind of shocked at first inside because you could just tell on his face like, ‘Wow, this is a lot of toys’ and it took a minute for him to warm up but after a couple of minutes, he began to warm up and talk to us and just share how happy he was,” Williams added. When Jaysden was shocked with his gifts, Kaeo claimed she was so affected by the kindness of A Future Super Hero and Friends and the Secret Santa Project of Hawaii, which assisted in organizing the gathering, that she was unable to control her sobs. She expressed her extreme excitement, saying, "I was very overwhelmed with joy," and expressed her gratitude to both organizations for making her only child's Christmas special.

Williams has already returned to his California home, but he is already anticipating 2023. He intends to devote all of his attention to A Future Super Hero and Friends. “I don't look to get paid to do this. It's just healing for me for losing my mother, just keeping her name alive by doing this,” he said. “My 14-year-old daughter … every year I ask her if it it’s OK if I go, you know, leave for at least 20 days. If she tells me no, I won't go, but she always gives me the green light and says, ‘Do your best, Dad. Go help these other people,’” Williams said. “She's a big supporter of me as well.”

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