Football-loving Kai Evitt’s Christmas wishes were answered when he received a pair of custom-made gloves.
The gloves, supplied by former Scottish professional footballer Kenny Arthur, were a godsend to the nine-year-old, who was born with a condition called ectrodactyly – meaning he is missing some fingers and toes.
Kai, from Belfast, had wanted the gloves so he could follow in the footsteps of his hero, Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea.
Now the Spanish shot-stopper has given the youngster a New Year boost by sending him a signed copy of his own gloves.
Kai’s mother Deborah said her son was “completely overwhelmed” when the gloves arrived in the post on Tuesday.
“At first I think Kai just thought they were a new pair of gloves and he was really excited,” she told BBC News NI.
“The gloves are signed ‘To Kai, Best Wishes David de Gea’, when he saw that he was blown away.
“He was beyond excited, he was completely overwhelmed. He will never forget this.”
Ms Evitt, who is an Arsenal supporter, said when she tweeted about the arrival of the gloves, de Gea responded with the simple message “Enjoy”.
“Kai’s dad who is a Manchester United fan thinks I am going to convert but that would be too much,” she said.
She said the signed gloves would be boxed and take pride of place in Kai’s football-themed bedroom.
Ms Evitt added Kai was already getting plenty of wear out of the specially-made gloves provided by Kenny Arthur, the Partick Thistle goalkeeping coach who established his own goalkeeping glove brand after a career spanning 20 years.
“The gloves are pure black now, they started out white,” she said.
“He played his first football match for Shankill Juniors last Sunday, he loved it so much and he has another match this week.”
Ms Evitt said Kai’s story showed how one kind gesture could go a long way.
“This was all down to an act of generosity, a small act of kindness that can manifest and ripple into life-changing things for people,” she added.