MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — An Irondale high school student is getting an early Christmas present after having made it through some extremely difficult times.

Sam Heras, 18, lost both of his parents to illness and had to quit the football team to work to make ends meet.

He was honored at the Minnesota Vikings game Sunday, where — to his surprise — he was given a car.

“He knew he was being honored as the hometown hero, but he actually had his back to the tunnel when they drove out. That was his surprise,” said Mark Swelland from Hudson Ford. “I also learned yesterday that it was his golden birthday.”

A co-worker created a GoFundMe page to help Heras with his bills. More than $50,000 has been raised so far.