ORLANDO, Fla. (FOX 35 WOFL) - Over the summer, an Orlando boy lost his mother. This Christmas though, the boy's father gave him back a small piece of her: her voice.
When Antonio Vargas, Jr.'s, father gave him a stuffed animal this past Christmas, he thought maybe it was a joke. "At first, I thought it was a prank. Because they always used to call me their little monkey," Antonio, Jr. said.
When he pressed a button inside the toy, however, he realized it was his best present ever.
"I just want to speak to Antonio, and tell him that mommy loves him!" said a voice from inside the stuffed monkey. It was the recorded voice of his mother, Johanna, who died suddenly this past July. Antonio's father had saved it, and others, from voicemail messages he still had on his phone after she died.
"I was able to cut some pieces out and put it in the bear, so he's able to hear his mother again," Antonio, Sr. said.
Antonio, Jr. said he was stunned. "I gave him a big hug, said I love him."
Antonio, Sr. said he just wanted to give his son a memory of his mother that he could hold on to. "It was really touching because when I was getting everything prepared, it was emotional for me," he said, "and I knew when he was going to open it, it was going to be emotional, too."
Antonio, Jr. said he usually like to press the buttons at night, just before bed. It lets him know that he's never alone. "Even though she's gone, she's still here."
Vargas' family has also set up a GoFundMe page to pay for Johanna's headstone.