Daniel Hayden doesn’t consider himself a hero, but a new Amazon Prime TV show has deemed him one. In the latest episode, he and his wife Danielle were surprised by Brad Paisley, a celebrity guest who presented them with gifts so meaningful the couple is still in shock two weeks later.
The show Regular Heroes is a weekly docuseries highlighting essential workers and is narrated by celebrity guests. The Haydens are one of three subjects in the sixth episode, which is available to watch here for Prime members.
When the whole process started, the Haydens didn’t quite know what they were getting into. Perdue Farms submitted his name to Amazon, but they thought it was just for an interview-type setting. Daniel is 31 and Danielle is 30, and they are in the process of taking over his parents’ farm — technically located in Whitesville.
“Rightfully so, Amazon wasn’t sharing much information about it until they found the right candidate,” Daniel said. “Low and behold they chose us as the characters in the docuseries.”
The Amazon filming crew wanted to come out right away, but the Haydens didn’t have chickens at the time. Once they did, the crew was on site the next day.
“They told us they wanted to see the farm and the chickens and follow us around and see what our life was like during the pandemic as farmers or essential workers,” Danielle said. “That’s all we knew.”
Filming took place over a five-day stretch about two weeks ago, and the Haydens didn’t realize quite what was in store for them at the end.
As the crew followed Daniel around they asked about the couple’s life, but they didn’t explain why.
“During the filming they just got to know me and Daneille very well,” he said. “For me it was pretty humbling because some of the questions were ‘how does it feel to be a regular hero?’ My response was that the only one I’m a hero to is probably my dog I take with me every day to work.”
On the final day — “reveal day” — the Haydens had to wait outside while the crew set up the surprise gifts.
That’s when they also got a call from Paisley.
“We didn’t know who it would be,” Danielle said. “We just knew somebody was going to call us. Amazon is the one who provided the gifts, and Brad Paisley was the one who presented them to us over Zoom. We were shocked.”
The first gift was a year’s supply of N95 masks. Daniel said farm workers have used them daily for years, but they’ve been hard to come by due to the pandemic.
The second gift was a pair of family belt buckles to represent the generational aspect of the couple taking over ownership.
The final gift was perhaps the most meaningful. Amazon is providing the financing needed for the first round of fertility treatments for the Haydens, who have been trying to work through unexplained infertility for the past three years. They also suffered a miscarriage in July.
“It’s been quite a journey,” Danielle said. “It got brought up during them following us, and it was not an angle I expected them to go. But we are so incredibly thankful because it honestly was not something financially that was an option to us at all. We’ve kind of reached a roadblock as to what we can do.”
They’ve already been able to meet with a doctor in St. Louis as they search for ways to grow their family.
“Between Danielle and I, our number one priority is family,” Daniel said. “Building our family to see our second-generation farm be able to be passed down to the next generation, not just for the farm but for us in general because we’d love to have kids, it meant a lot.”
Other than a clip released on People.com, the Haydens had not seen the episode prior to its release.
The Haydens said they still can’t quite believe their experience, and they are still struggling to explain just how big of an impact it has made in their lives.
“Even though it’s been a couple weeks, I think we’re both still in shock,” Danielle said. “We’re still looking for those words of how meaningful it is because it’s overwhelming. It truly, truly means more than we can figure out the words for.”