Trick-or-treaters leave their Halloween candy for child battling leukemia

Sweet Halloween surprise for girl battling leukemia
Sweet Halloween surprise for girl battling le... 01:55

A search for hope at the end of this very anxious week led me to this humble bundle.  Zoe, 3, is the proud product of TJ and Courtney Thomas of Atlanta, Georgia.

Back in February, Zoe was diagnosed with leukemia. And because her immune system is now compromised, she couldn't go trick-or-treating on Halloween with all the other kids. In fact, her parents even had to put up a sign to keep other kids away. The sign read: "Sorry, no candy. Child with cancer. See you next year!"

"The whole purpose was just so that we wouldn't have to keep telling kids 'sorry' and have disappointed kids," Zoe's mother Courtney Thomas said. "Never expected anything like this."

They never expected those little ghosts and ghouls to be such saints.

Zoe Thomas
Zoe Thomas is seen in a photo provided by her family. Thomas family

"I just immediately started crying," Thomas said.

At the foot of the sign, trick-or-treaters left their Halloween candy for the child inside. Footage from a doorbell camera shows kid after kid making the same character-defining decision — mostly, on their own.

We tracked down a few of the angels. When the kids were asked if grownups were telling them what to do, they said "No."

While pointing to a friend, one kid said, "She dumped out her whole bag."

"Your whole bag?!" I asked.  

"I wanted to give back to them," the child responded.

"It's somebody's little girl," another kid said.

Thomas said that empathy was just the medicine her family needed.

"During this crazy time with everything going on in the world – just the gesture of, 'Hey, we're all in this together.' And just to remind each other there's still hope and love," Thomas said.

There's still hope and love — and much better role models — than the ones we obsess over.

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To contact On the Road, or to send us a story idea, email us: OnTheRoad@cbsnews.com.

  • Steve Hartman
    Steve Hartman

    Steve Hartman has been a CBS News correspondent since 1998, having served as a part-time correspondent for the previous two years.