A Kentucky dad was simply trying to ensure that his daughter’s used car was safe when a shocking chain of events unfolded. While taking the car for a spin, he found an envelope in the glovebox. Curious, he read the letter inside.
Kevin Duke excitedly bought his daughter a secondhand car for her 16th birthday. Like any good dad, he wanted to make sure it was functioning properly and safely before handing the keys to his baby girl. While going through the car, checking to make sure it was in good shape, he opened the glovebox and found an envelope, which he had missed the many times he had opened the compartment before.
“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,” Kevin recalled. That’s when he found the envelope with a letter inside, addressed to the next owner of the automobile. “New Car Owner Important Info Inside,” the outside of the envelope read.
Curious, Kevin Duke opened the envelope to read the letter inside. To his disbelief, the letter, written by the previous owner’s daughter, detailed how the car ended up for sale and why the new owner should cherish it. “I just wanted to let you know what a special vehicle you’ve bought,” the letter, written by a woman named Sabrina, began. “This car belonged to my mom,” she added.
Sabrina then revealed that her mother passed away in a house fire along with Sabrina’s 6-year-old daughter and her aunt. “The last time my mom drove this car was the day she left us. Her and my daughter went out shopping and got their hair cut,” Sabrina continued. “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.”
Sadly, Sabrina would lose that too when “there was a mix up with paperwork” and the car wasn’t paid off by the insurance. “It’s very upsetting that I have lost my family, my home, and now I’m losing this last link I have with my mom and child through no fault of my own,” Sabrina wrote before ensuring the reader, “I’m not mad at you.” But, her lengthy letter and everything she needed the new owner to know had still just begun.
“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 80’s and country music and rolled the windows down,” she recalled. “I’ve changed more diapers in the back seat 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,” the note joked.
“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,” Sabrina’s note continued.
“Life happened in this car. Love, joy, and adventure was 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,” she wrote. “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,” Sabrina added, speaking of the silver car.
“If you ever want to sell Sylvia, please try to find me,” Sabrina requested, explaining that since she had just paid for 3 funerals, she couldn’t afford to buy it right now, but she hoped to be in a better financial situation later. “Be blessed, be happy, live and love like we did. I wish you, and Sylvia, the best!” the letter closed.
After reading the heartfelt letter, an emotional Kevin Duke posted it on social media, where things quickly snowballed. When the images of the letter began to go viral, a woman named Tammi from Kansas saw them and decided to start a fundraising campaign, hoping to raise enough money to reunite Sylvia and Sabrina. Her efforts were a success.
A video of Sabrina driving Sylvia for the first time in two years was shared in an update on the fundraising page. With Kevin and Jada in the backseat and Tammi riding shotgun, Sabrina took the wheel, and the car was instantly packed to the roof with kindness and gratitude.
When Sabrina wrote her letter and put it in the glovebox, she never imagined anything like this would ever come of it. But, numerous people stepped up to do a small part. Together, they all made a big difference, not only to Sabrina but to everyone who has the pleasure of reading the inspiring story about a woman who put pen to paper to vulnerably remind others to make memories and the strangers who stepped up to help her make more.