Good Samaritan donates MacBook and new backpack to Oakland girl who was victim of theft

There is hope for humanity. Just days after a 13-year-old Oakland girl had her backpack stolen during a trip to the hospital for surgery, a stranger has reached out to help. The stolen backpack contained her tablet and laptop for school.

Now a Good Samaritan has stepped up to donate replacements. 

Jazz Hardrict is at Children's Hospital in Oakland preparing for bone-marrow transplant surgery. She's fighting sickle-cell disease, a genetic blood disorder that can be deadly. 

Someone stole the girl's backpack out of her grandmother's parked car when they made a stop on the way to the hospital on Sunday. Along with the electronic devices, there were other essential schoolwork items inside the backpack. Her grandmother lamented how rough Jazz's journey was as it is, and then the backpack was stolen. 

KTVU received word from Jazz's grandmother that she has been receiving overwhelming support since the story aired Tuesday night. That includes the donation of a newly-refurbished MacBook laptop. Someone, only named as ‘Mike’, signed a "sweet card" including their donation delivered to the hospital in a new backpack. 

We contacted the donor Mike Panico, of Oakland, who sent KTVU an email after dropping off the goods at the hospital's lobby for Jazz. His main concern was that she recovers quickly and gets back to being a kid, he said. 

Over the phone, Panico explained how he empathized with Jazz's situation and realized he was in a position to act. The father of three himself, including a 12-year-old daughter, said he was reminded of his own two-week stay at the very same hospital. 

When he was in fifth grade and had a paper route with Oakland Tribune, he suffered a cut on his hand and ended up getting a pretty bad staph infection from the paper's ink. While that's not exactly the same situation, he said it was hard for his mom, a single mother. 

He thought Jazz seemed sweet. As the owner of Northbay Networks, a local computer company, he explained that he gives employees backpacks at Christmas parties and he definitely had the spare computer. 

After seeing the story he said he thought, "'Wow, that's terrible.'" Panico said he knows how Oakland can be with vehicle break-ins. 

In any event, his gesture was a remarkable act of kindness. 

Because of her compromised immune system, Jazz hasn't attended school in person since January. Her surgery is scheduled for a week from Friday. She'll be in the hospital for two months. And now she'll once again be equipped to stay connected to her peers and teachers during her stay.