Whether the car is new or used, safety is of the utmost importance to the parents of teenage drivers. Kevin Duke was no different.
He is the parent of a 16-year-old girl. Kevin set out to purchase a used car for his daughter and, of course, did his due diligence. He checked the vehicle he bought inside-out and upside-down to make certain it was safe. On one last round of checking through, he uncovered a mysterious envelope.
Certain he had thoroughly checked every nook and cranny, Kevin found a surprise in the glove compartment. It was a letter he had not seen during his other rounds of checking, tucked away inside a rubber mat. What happens next is touching and inspiring, as well as heart-breaking.
The letter was addressed as follows: “New Car Owner: Important Info Inside.” Kevin excitedly opened the letter to see what was inside. His curiosity soon turned into a deep, emotional reaction. The letter was from the previous owner’s daughter. Her mom, her own daughter, and her aunt had perished in a house fire. The car was the only memory she had left of them.
The letter detailed that the car was a cherished memory for her – the only material one she had left of her family. The daughter beseeched the new owner to take good care of the car and to create new memories in it. The letter went on to read:
“It’s very upsetting that I have lost my family and my home and now I’m losing this last link I have with my mum 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 back seat is filled with kids and toys and random things. My family filled this car with lots of love and other sticky things.”
“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 sound ever or some Lynyrd Skynyrd’s ‘Freebird.’ That song meant so much 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 adventure you take in this car.”
The writer of the letter also made a request to never change the name of the car. The car was named Sylvia. She made another request of the new owner; if they no longer wanted the car, to please try and find her. She had just paid for three funerals and couldn’t afford to buy it back right now, but would in the future if her financial situation changed.
After reading this heart-wrenching letter, Kevin was emotional and moved to tears. He wanted to reunite the car with the writer of the letter. After posting to social media, the writer of the letter came forward.
Jada, Kevin’s Daughter
Kevin and his daughter, Jada, decided to do a fundraiser to raise enough money for Jada to buy a different car so the writer could have hers back in return. The social media site, Love What Matters, had thousands of reactions; the writer of the letter was one of them. She was touched beyond measure. The writer’s final piece of advice: “Tomorrow is not promised.”