Kevin Duke found the perfect used car for his daughter’s 16th birthday. He chose carefully, selecting a vehicle that would be in good condition, even driving it to make sure it would be safe.
He made an interesting discovery in the bottom of the car’s glove compartment one day – a hand-addressed envelope.
Duke explained the whole story on the Facebook page, Love What Matters, writing:
“I bought my daughter, Jada, a used car a couple weeks ago. Since she doesn’t turn 16 until March, I’m driving it to see if there are any kinks to work out before I give it to her. 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. To my surprise, I find this envelope with this letter inside. I won’t lie, I shed a few tears.”
The front of the envelope said “New Car Owner Important Info Inside.”
Inside the envelope, a letter explained that the previous car’s owner was the letter writer’s mother and the car provided many special memories for her family. Unfortunately, when she lost her mother, aunt, and six-year-old daughter in a fire, she had to sell the car to help pay for the funeral expenses.
The letter explained: “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 mum. She passed away Feb 25, 2015, in a house fire along with my 6-year-old daughter and my aunt. The last time my mum drove this car was the day she left us. Her and my daughter went out shopping and got their haircut.”
The letter writer wanted the new owner to take good car of the car and hoped whoever owned it now would make new happy memories with the vehicle. “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. 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.”
The writer added, “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.”
She further explained in the letter: “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.”
The writer asked, “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.”
Moved by the letter and the writer’s story, Duke started a social media campaign to find the woman. The letter writer came forward after the letter was posted on Facebook, identifying herself as Sabrina Archey and writing: “I just want to say that I’ve spent the last 2 plus hours reading the comments on this post. I’ve tried to comment on a few things here and there but I just can’t keep up. I will introduce myself as the one that wrote the letter. Kevin is the one that has my moms car right now and the original poster. He just posted this yesterday. And no, to the best of my knowledge, there is not a godundme set up to purchase Sylvia from him and buy Jada a new car.”
She further answered some of the commenters’ questions, writing: “I am beyond touched at how responsive everyone has been to our story and I thank each and every one of u for all of your thoughts and prayers and well wishes. I can’t say it enough, how amazing Kevin truly is. He did not have to let me know that he found my letter. He didn’t have to share our story here. He was touched very deeply, as most of u have been, and felt like he needed to share my letter for the message that it was meant to convey. Please don’t be upset with him for having Sylvia. I know in my bones that if he was able to give me the car that he would in an instant. It’s not easy to buy a car. He just got lucky and got this one.”
She added: “Your support here is so encouraging. I keep using the word overwhelmed and I can’t think of a better word to say what I’m feeling. I’m emotional, can’t quit crying and I feel so much love I could just burst. Some of your comments speak of your own losses and heartache. Thank u so much for sharing those stories! So many have lost loved ones and it’s great to see that there’s always hope. I’m thankful our story makes people want to love their family a little more tonight. Give your babies extra lovins, call your mom and go visit your grandparents if u still have them. Tomorrow is not promised! And again, thanks to all of u for your support!!!”