Firefighters battling the West Coast blazes have found some happiness in the form of, believe it or not, Baby Yoda.
It started in September when Carver, a 5-year-old Oregon boy, told his grandmother, Sasha Tinning, that he wanted to accompany her to the store as she bought items to donate to a supply drive for firefighters. As they browsed, they spotted a toy version of the most adorable character from the Disney+ series The Mandalorian.
“He was the last one,” Tinning tells Yahoo Entertainment. “I looked at Carver, and I said, ‘Do you think this would be something the firefighters would like? And he said, ‘Yeah, Yeah, sure, they could use a friend.’”
Her grandson wrote a sweet note to go along with the gift: “Thank you Fire Fighters. Here is a friend for you, in case you get lonely. Love, Carver.”
The little boy and his grandmother were happy to help but didn’t think more about it until they heard about firefighters documenting Baby Yoda’s travels on social media. Women and men were handing him off to each other and documenting his travels to California, Colorado, Utah and elsewhere on a Facebook page called Baby Yoda Fights Fires.
Firefighter Jaebyn Drake, who’s with the Oregon Air National Guard, says Baby Yoda has been a real morale booster for people putting in 14- and even 16-hour days. He took “The Child” out on the frontlines with him on Sept. 20.
“When they first got Baby Yoda on the line, everybody was so excited. A lot of people read the note. A couple of people teared up,” Drake tells Yahoo Entertainment. “It just… reminded them of home and the work we’re doing, what it actually means, the impact that it has on other people’s lives.”
Drake put firefighters’ stamp on Baby Yoda when he tied a bandana, the kind they wear to keep smoke and soot out of their eyes, on it.
“It shows that it’s not just any Baby Yoda but our Baby Yoda,” Drake says. “The one that’s going out fighting fires and the one that’s traveling around and bringing out positivity to everyone.”
Carver is following Baby Yoda’s travels on Facebook and thought the bandana idea was “pretty special,” Tinning says. While he’s too young to understand everything that’s happening, he “enjoys the fact that Baby Yoda is bringing smiles to the firefighters. And are we proud of him? To the moon and back.”
Tinning says Carver’s story has shown her that everyone can make a difference.
“Even the smallest random act of kindness can go a far way,” she says.