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Fairy garden sparks a lasting friendship between strangers

Fairy garden plants seed for lasting friendship
Fairy garden plants seed for lasting friendship 02:31

Kelly Kenney was walking in her Los Angeles neighborhood one day when she came across a fairy garden. While staring at these tree trunk trinkets, she felt an alter ego emerging.

"On my walk back I was brainstorming ideas of what my name was going to be," Kenney told CBS News. "My imagination just kind of took over and I just started thinking, 'Well, maybe if I left a note as a fairy, that would be really fun to do.'"

Eliana, 4, built a fairy garden in her Los Angeles neighborhood.  Handout / Kelly Kenney

The next night she did just that — she left a note for whoever built the garden. 

"My name is Sapphire," she wrote. "I am one of the fairies who lives in this tree." 

The next day, a 4-year-old girl named Eliana wrote back. It was the first exchange in what has evolved into a remarkable friendship — months of letters and presents and glitter galore. They traded photos with one another and unlocked a world of wonder. 

Eliana's mom, Emily, couldn't be more grateful.

"We were constantly floored. The gifts that she would give were just so personal and so kind, and we were just like, 'We don't even know you!'" she said. 

Eliana felt like the luckiest girl in the world. But what she wanted more than any present was to meet her new friend. And that's when Sapphire remembered that fairies can, on very rare occasion, become human sized. Which is how, one day, she appeared. 

"She turned around and saw me and the way that she looked at me, I'll never forget that," Kenney said. "It was just really magical." 

Eliana's mom added, "That true love for one another, that's real." 

Since CBS News first told their story in 2020, the magic has multiplied. Sapphire spread the word and other forest creatures reached out, widening Eliana's wonder. 

Fairy garden sparks a friendship between strangers 02:26

But Kelly says that even if you don't have wings, you can still lift others. 

"I want people to believe that they don't have to be a fairy to give a little bit of magic to somebody else. And it doesn't have to be a child either," she said. 

Kelley Kenney and Eliana met after months of exchanging letters about a fairies.  Handout / Kelly Kenney

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