At Christmastime, scammed Wichita family receives flood of offers of help

WICHITA — Christmas is coming to the Huckleby children after all.

An Eagle article on Saturday told how a man used counterfeit money last week to buy $1,100 worth of auto parts from Lawrence Huckleby of Wichita. Huckleby, who is disabled and has limited income, was selling the auto parts to pay bills and buy Christmas presents for his five children, ages 4 to 12.

Since the article appeared Saturday, dozens of people have called or e-mailed The Eagle offering help for the family. A number of people have tracked down the Hucklebys.

This morning, Huckleby's wife, Melissa, went shopping for toys after a woman drove to Wichita from a rural area near Newton and gave her $600.

The woman who helped the Hucklebys said, "It's not like we're rich, but we have enough."

She added: "I love children. Christmas is so important to me, and when I read that story I hurt so much ... that someone would pass those counterfeit bills to them."

Lawrence Huckleby reported the incident to police and gave them the counterfeit bills. Police say use of counterfeit cash has been on the rise.

The woman who gave the Hucklebys the money said she related to them. As with the Hucklebys, she has five children living at home, including one with special needs.

Melissa Huckleby said she told the woman, "You don't have to do this." But the woman insisted.

Lawrence Huckleby said he and his family want to thank the strangers "from the bottom of our heart."

If they ever need help, he said, "I would come running in a second."

Related stories from Wichita Eagle