This is a letter of a different kind, an actual letter to an actual mother. It’s a letter to aspire to receive some day…remember this one the next time you’re teaching your children how to share and show compassion:
Dear Mrs. Gray,
You don’t know me, but I wanted to write you a letter.
My family and I are from Southern California, but we were visiting Utah last week for Thanksgiving. Last Sunday night we were trying to drive from Salt Lake to Park City, where we were staying with friends. A snow storm had blown in and the highway had several inches of snow by the time we made our way up the hill to Park City. The snow plows had not yet made their way to our stretch of highway and quickly we realized we were in trouble. Our California tires were no match for the snow and of course we didn’t have chains. We were following in the tire tracks of a big semi for a while, and so we were making progress up Parley’s Summit, but then our semi got stuck and we quickly came to a stop. Once stopped we couldn’t get the car moving again. There were cars all around us who were also getting stuck. If you didn’t have four wheel drive or some really good snow tires, you were out of luck. We thought we would have to wait a few hours until the snow plows came through and then have someone tow us into the plowed path. It was getting late, and our kids were tired and ready for bed.
You might wonder why I am telling you this story, but at this point your son Ben came to our rescue. He was driving behind us in a red pick up truck and when my husband got out to see how badly we were stuck, he asked if we needed help. Your son tried to give our bumper a push but we just got stuck again, the tires spinning and spinning. He could have just driven around us and been on his way like the hundreds of other cars, but your son pulled his truck in front of ours and grabbed a strap out of the back and tied our front bumber to the back of his truck. And then he pulled us ever so slowly up to the summit. Once we got to the top, he untied the strap (we were worried about braking on our way downhill and didn’t want to slide into his truck). But then he offered to follow us all the way down the hill to our exit in Park City, to make sure we didn’t get stuck again.
And so I wanted to write and tell you about your son, and the kindness he showed my family. I’m guessing, in typical teenage fashion, that he didn’t tell you what had happened that night. I’m betting he just came home and mentioned the storm in passing on his way to the fridge to grab a snack.
But I wanted to make sure you knew, and to thank you for raising the type of boy who would stop to help a stranger, even when it delayed his drive home by an hour or so on a dark and snowy night. My family and I are so grateful.
Brooke Reynolds and family
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Brooke is a mother of two, book designer, amateur sew-er, and lover of flip-flops. A former senior art director at Martha Stewart Living and Martha Stewart Kids, she writes at Inchmark, where this post first appeared.