NORTHBOROUGH (FOX 25 / MyFoxBoston.com) One Northborough family was shocked to hear their names used during the vice presidential debate on Thursday.
Paul Ryan mentioned the Nixon family, who were in a car crash in the early 90s. Two of the Nixon children, Rob and Reed, were paralyzed. Mitt Romney and his family learned of the tragedy and asked if they could come over for Christmas. Romney reportedly brought gifts.
FOX 25's Tyisha Fernandes sat down with the Nixon family on Friday in the same Northborough home that Mitt Romney and his family visited 17 years ago.
"It was amazing, they stayed for a couple hours, setting it up, and spent time," says Reed Nixon.
"There were no cameras, no reporters," says Mark Nixon, patriarch of the Nixon family. "He only picture we took was a picture of our families together."
The Nixon family needed some joy on that Christmas Eve in 1995. It was less than a year after that horrible accident. The family was leaving a church meeting when they crashed. It was the same Mormon church the Romney family belongs to, but a different branch.
When the Romneys traveled more than an hour to spend a precious holiday with strangers at the time, the Nixons felt some happiness after feeling so broken.
"Think about it, they could've done it anytime of year, but they did it on Christmas Eve," says Mark.
The Republican vice presidential candidate tells the rest of the story.
"Later on, he said 'I know you're struggling Mark, don't worry about their college, I'll pay for it,'" said Ryan.
Mark says Ann and Mitt Romney basically gave them a blank check. They didn't end up needing the check, because Reed got a finance degree from Bentley University where his father works. Rob went to Brigham Young on a scholarship.
Regardless, the Nixons see it as an incredible gesture that they will never forget.
The Nixon family wants to make it clear that Romney stayed in touch with them long after that Christmas visit. Romney attended several fundraisers for the paralyzed boys. He also sent cards and gifts when they graduated from college.