Valerie's Huge Christmas Surprise
For many guys, being single and 20 means living a carefree life without the burden of much responsibility. Joey, however, was faced with a life-changing decision before his 21st birthday. Due to unfortunate circumstances, his twin sister's three kids were taken away by social services and scheduled to be placed into foster care. Having grown up without a father since he was 6, Joey made the decision to fight for custody of the children and provide them with a proper, loving home. "I couldn't see my family ripped apart," he explains.
For the past four years, Joey has been the full-time caregiver and father to George, Anthony and Chris, who needs special attention because he suffers from a disease called spina bifida. Fortunately, Joey has the help of three "guardian angels" -- when he was first granted custody of the children, his friend Nicole stayed with the kids every night for two years while Joey worked the graveyard shift as a custodian. His best friend Hector moved in to help take care of the kids and lighten Joey's load a bit, and his junior high friend Jill is always around to lend an ear or offer a shoulder for him to lean on. "Without them," Joey tearfully admits, "I would not be able to have the family that I have now. I don't know where I would be."
When Rachael heard about Joey's story, she sent her buddy Valerie Bertinelli to spend some time with this special family. Valerie asks Joey if all the attention he gets for what he's done for the children surprises him. "It does surprise me a lot," he says, "because I still don't believe that I'm doing anything big. I'm doing what I have to do for my family." Valerie discovers that for Joey, taking care of his children -- the cooking, the cleaning, helping with homework, doing laundry -- leaves him with no time for dating or much of a personal life. "They're my main focus right now," Joey says. Also adding stress is the upcoming holiday, and the pressure to provide the boys with a memorable Christmas while still keeping up with the ever-growing stack of bills. "They've had such a rough time," Joey says. "For me not having a father or a great childhood, I want to make their Christmas even better."
Valerie has the first of several surprises for Joey ... a $3000 shopping spree to Toys "R" Us and Sears courtesy of American Express gift cards! Watch Valerie and Joey shop for presents for the boys -- and the boys doing some secret shopping of their own for Joey!
Back in the studio, Rachael has more surprises -- $1,000 American Express gift cards for Hector, Jill and Nicole, who have given so selflessly over the years to help their friend. To help ease some of his financial burdens, Rach tells Joey that she spoke to his boss, and in addition to receiving a raise, he will also get a nice Christmas bonus! Plus, since Joey says that he doesn't always have time to prepare the kids a healthy dinner, HomeBistro.com will deliver well-balanced meals every week night for a year!
Rachael and Valerie have one more surprise for Joey which leaves him speechless -- click here to watch!
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