On May 27, Josiah Toleafoa, a 3-year-old boy from Chula Vista, California, was supposed to have a joyful celebration at Play City, an indoor play center, for his third birthday. Tragically, as Josiah and his family walked through the parking lot towards the venue, he was struck by a vehicle and later succumbed to his injuries at Rady Children’s Hospital.
In the wake of this heartbreaking incident, Josiah’s aunt, Tatiana Toleafoa Labs, and great-aunt, Claudia Garay, created separate GoFundMe accounts to raise funds for funeral expenses. The first account received over 460 donations, totaling $26,397, and Claudia’s account raised over $3,000. Notably, the owner of Play City, along with their landlord, made a generous donation of $2,000, as did The District of Eastlake and Awaken Church.
Many other local businesses and community groups rallied around Josiah’s family, offering their support and financial contributions. These included Speed Circuit Family Fun Center, Laura Littrell Flooring, Inc., Ninja Factory, Floaties Swim School, San Diego Exquisite Picnics, and LittleHouz Designs. The outpouring of support demonstrated the unity and compassion within the Chula Vista community.
Tatiana Toleafoa Labs expressed her family’s deep grief, describing Josiah’s death as a tragic accident that would forever impact their lives. She expressed gratitude for the love and support they had received and urged others to contribute to his funeral costs.
Claudia Garay, Josiah’s great-aunt, shared fond memories of him on her GoFundMe page, emphasizing his captivating smile and loving heart. She lamented that Josiah’s life was cut short and believed he had the potential to make a difference in the world.
While the family coped with their loss, an investigation was initiated into the incident. Although no charges have been filed yet, authorities confirmed that the 36-year-old driver involved was cooperative, not under the influence, and remained at the scene.
As Josiah’s family mourned the loss of a life filled with promise, their community rallied around them, offering financial support and sharing memories of the bright and joyful little boy who had touched their lives.