For a majority of us, the first car we own is used, often beat up, and sometimes even older than we are. We know the make, model, and year of the car, but what we often don’t know is who owned the car previously, what their lives were like, and generally how the car was treated over the years.
When Kevin Duke bought an older car for his soon-to-be 16-year-old daughter, he had no idea that when he opened up the glovebox that there would be a lengthy, detailed letter…
“Well, yesterday I’m in it tinkering around and I open this storage compartment on top of the dash (which I’ve opened a half dozen times already). This time I notice a rubber mat in the bottom of it and for whatever reason, I pull it out,” the father explains.
The outside of the letter stated, “New Car Owner Important Info Inside.” Without hesitation, Kevin opened up the letter, which would contain an emotional history of the vehicle, from who owned it last, to what the car was used for, to why there’s a dent in the passenger side door.
The emotional letter read:
To the person that gets this car,
I just wanted to let you know what a special vehicle you’ve bought. This car belonged to my mom. She passed away on February 25, 2015, in a house fire along with my 6-year-old daughter and my aunt. The last time my mom drove this car was the day she left us. She and my daughter went out shopping and got their hair cut.
This car holds a lot of special memories for me. My home and everything in it is gone, this car is all that I had left to touch.
There was a mix up with paperwork and that’s caused the car to not be paid off by the insurance. It’s very upsetting that I have lost my family, my home and now I’m losing the last link I have with my mom and child through no fault of my own.
I’m not mad at you. I hope this car is the best car you’ve ever owned. I hope it runs for 100 more years. I hope the backseat is filled with kids and toys and random things. My family filled this car with lots of love and other sticky things. We took road trips, blared 80s and country music and rolled the windows down. I’ve changed more diapers in the backseat than I can count. There’s probably a sucker stick or a crayon hidden somewhere that belonged to my baby. Maybe an entire chicken nugget. HA!
I don’t know if you’ll see it but there may be a dirty spot on the dash. My daughter and I would pretend to go on adventures while we sat in the driveway and she always put her feet there. The dent on the rear driver’s side fender and the dent in the passenger side door are where my daughter learned to ride… and crash… her bike a few months before her death. I know it’s just a car to you, but to me it’s so much more.
Life happened in this car.
Love, joy, and adventure were had in this car. So now that it’s yours, please remember it isn’t just a car. It’s a memory. This car with all its quirks is the last piece of my family. Be nice to it. Play it a country song. Big Green Tractor was my daughter’s favorite song ever or some Lynyrd Skynyrd Freedbird. That song meant so much to us that I played it at their funerals.
You’re riding with angels. My angels.
Talk to them if you like, I’m sure they’d like to see and hear about any new adventures you take in this car. By the way, her name is Sylvia. The very first day mom got this car, we all rode around and Dr. Hook’s Sylvia’s Mother came on the radio. The name kind of just stuck when my daughter said that’s what we should name the car. So please don’t change her name. If you ever want to sell Sylvia, please try to find me. I just paid for 3 funerals, I can’t afford to buy it right now, but hopefully, I’ll be in a better financial situation if you decide later that she’s just not right for you anymore.
Be blessed, be happy, live and love as we did. I wish you, and Sylvia, the best!
Due to how emotional and raw the letter was, Kevin posted it on social media, which eventually went viral, allowing him to get in contact with the daughter who wrote the letter and rightfully give the car back. Meanwhile, Kevin raised money to get his daughter Jada a new car.
I think Kevin did the right thing, don’t you? Memories can never be replaced, and for the daughter of the previous owner to get the vehicle back as a way to remember and properly mourn her mother is one of the greatest gifts.
Learn more about the touching story below.