Old Trucks

Out of impulse, the old man makes a deal. Old men who who drive candy-apple Fords have been known to do that.

This story isn’t mine, but I’m going to tell it like I heard it. I first heard it from an old man who drove a Ford. And I have a soft spot for old Ford men.

So there he is. The old man is driving. He sees a car on the side of the highway. A kid stands beside it. Hood open.

The man pulls over.

He’s America’s quintessential old man. He drives a half-ton Ford that he’s been babying since the seventies. He changes the oil regularly, waxes it on weekends. The candy-apple red paint still looks nice.

He looks under the kid’s hood. He can see the problem right away, (a) the transmission is shot, and (b) it’s not a Ford.

Fixing it would cost more than the vehicle.

The kid is in a hurry, and asks, “Can you give me a ride to work? I can’t afford to lose my job.”

So, the old man drives the kid across town. They do some talking. The man learns that the boy has four children, a young wife, and a disabled mother living with him. The boy works hard for a living. Bills keep piling up.

It rips the man’s heart out.

They arrive at a construction site. There are commercial framers in tool belts, operating nail guns. The kid pumps the old man’s hand and thanks him for the ride.

“Take care of yourself,” the man tells the kid.

The kid takes his place among workmen, climbing on pine-framed walls, swinging a hammer.

The old man decides to help the kid. He doesn’t know how. Or why. But it’s a decision that seems to make itself.

That same day, he’s at a stop light. He sees something. An ugly truck, sitting in a supermarket parking lot. A Ford.

A for-sale sign in the window.

He inspects it. Single cab. Four-wheel drive. Low mileage. The paint is flaking. Rust on the doors. It’s a glorified hunk of metal, but they don’t make them like this anymore.

Out of impulse, the old man makes a deal. Old men who drive candy-apple Fords have been known to do that.

When the workday is over, the old man pulls into the kid’s jobsite again. The kid is loading work vehicles.

“What’re you doing here?” the kid asks.

“Came to give you a ride home.”

The kid hops in. They drive. They talk again. The sun is lowering. The kid smells like sweat and sawdust.

They arrive in a supermarket parking lot. The old man shuts the engine off.

“What’re we doing?” the kid says.

The old man points at an ugly truck with a for-sale sign. “What do you think of that truck?”

The kid’s face gets serious. His eyes become large.

“I asked you a question,” the old man says. “I know it don’t look pretty, but with a little work, it can be a dependable vehicle.”

The kid is unable to speak. He looks like he might even cry.

The old man doesn’t care much for tears—men from his generation don’t. So, he tosses the kid a set of keys.

“She’s all yours,” the old man says.

“You gotta be kidding,” the boy answers. “You BOUGHT that truck for me? You don’t even know me.”

“No, son,” the man says. “I didn’t buy that truck for you. I bought it for ME. I’m gonna fix’er up, make her pretty again.”

The old man pats the steering wheel of Candy-Apple Red.

“THIS is the one I’m giving to you.”

Old men. May I live long enough to be one someday.

51 comments

  1. Judy G - February 24, 2018 7:46 am

    Ohhh, to have the resources for that wonderful gift of sharing with strangers. Staying forever mindful to share what we can.

    Reply
  2. Angie K Long - February 24, 2018 7:51 am

    Daddy was one of those old Ford men–he only wanted a John Deere tractor, mind you, and he had two that he loved even after he was run over by one of them–but he always wanted a Ford pickup. Bless those who reach out to help others even as they make their own dreams come true.

    Reply
  3. Pamela McEachern - February 24, 2018 9:30 am

    Best of the Best, I am amazed at the Angels among us.

    Peace and Love from Birmingham

    Reply
  4. Betty Jo Stroup - February 24, 2018 10:06 am

    Sean, your words go straight to my heart. I pray this means there is hope for me yet. Please continue with your wonderful writing. We are all hungry for hope!

    Reply
  5. CKD - February 24, 2018 10:26 am

    That man touched my heart. The gift of giving is the best gift ever.

    Reply
  6. Ronnie - February 24, 2018 10:58 am

    You made me cry again. Love this story!

    Reply
  7. Susan Hammett Poole - February 24, 2018 11:50 am

    WowWow&Wow! What a great, heartwarming story to wake up to 😙 💖

    Reply
  8. Trina V. - February 24, 2018 11:51 am

    I had a feeling that was how the story would end, but I cried anyway.

    Reply
  9. cgilbert4716 - February 24, 2018 12:33 pm

    Can’t see through my tears

    Reply
  10. Marisa Franca @ All Our Way - February 24, 2018 12:55 pm

    I swear, Sean, you make me want to be a better person. I’m wiping the tears away and I can barely see to write. There are good people in our world. Why can’t we talk about them instead of advertising the evil in the world?

    Reply
    • Wendy Franks - February 26, 2018 3:35 am

      I still think we need an “Only Good News” TV channel. True that it might not be a commercial success but surely there’s a wealthy person who’d consider airing it…just for the charity of it. Maybe even a tax write-off?

      Reply
  11. Rachel lindsey - February 24, 2018 1:11 pm

    Yep crying again

    Reply
  12. Connie - February 24, 2018 1:23 pm

    My eyes are leaking. Sweet story. Thank you for telling it.

    Reply
  13. The English teacher - February 24, 2018 1:31 pm

    All I can say is “wow!”

    Reply
  14. Sandra Smith - February 24, 2018 1:42 pm

    ❤❤❤❤❤

    Reply
  15. Buck Godwin - February 24, 2018 1:44 pm

    Good one Sean! Really good!

    Reply
  16. Michael Bishop - February 24, 2018 1:49 pm

    Sean, my wife and I read your stories every morning along with our devotionals, and stories like “Old Trucks” are exactly the reason why. We thought you ought to know. And, yes, thanks.

    Reply
  17. Lew - February 24, 2018 1:54 pm

    Rock & Roll. There are still folks out there who act and do the same and drive chevys too ..

    Reply
  18. Kay Paul - February 24, 2018 2:03 pm

    Sean, your sketches make me smile too. I can’t decide if you’re a better writer or artist. The one today of the old Ford pickup truck is, I think, my favorite. But I’ve said that about all of your drawings. Keep writing…..and sketching. Please.

    Reply
  19. Caron Sellers Eiman - February 24, 2018 2:25 pm

    Didn’t see that coming, burst into happy tears.

    Reply
  20. Jack Darnell - February 24, 2018 2:31 pm

    I am smiling. You do’t have to be in construction or drive a Ford to like this. I have driven Fords and Chevys to my job sites. I love this story, good ‘un!

    Reply
  21. Sue Cronkite - February 24, 2018 2:31 pm

    Another good ‘un. I used to admire old people when I was young. Now I are one.

    Reply
  22. Anne - February 24, 2018 2:31 pm

    Geez, you made me cry first thing in the morning again! I always read your stories first thing when I wake up every morning, what a wonderful way to start the day – with hope for humanity that love, kindness and understanding will change the world!

    Reply
  23. Nix LaVerdi - February 24, 2018 2:42 pm

    Beautiful story. Beautifully written. My heart is warm. Thank you. –Nix

    Reply
  24. Kathy Daum - February 24, 2018 3:06 pm

    That is a terrific story. And it told it just right.

    Reply
  25. Connie - February 24, 2018 3:23 pm

    You certainly have a beautiful way with words!

    Reply
  26. Donna D. - February 24, 2018 3:37 pm

    Thank you for again giving us hope in the face of tragic news on every front. What a heart-filling story for today. Keep up your writing. We need you.

    Reply
  27. muthahun - February 24, 2018 3:37 pm

    Not your story? It is now.

    Reply
  28. Steven P Bailey - February 24, 2018 3:38 pm

    Wonderful…

    Reply
  29. Trina - February 24, 2018 4:07 pm

    That brought tears to m my eyes. Thank you for sharing it to all of us!

    Reply
  30. Jack Quanstrum - February 24, 2018 4:12 pm

    Amen, Amen, Amen!

    Reply
  31. Jan - February 24, 2018 4:33 pm

    Nothing better than a beautiful story told with love! (I agree, the sketch is awesome too!)

    Reply
  32. Steven - February 24, 2018 4:49 pm

    Perfect.

    Reply
  33. Dianne Correll - February 24, 2018 5:17 pm

    WOW!!! Didn’t see that coming!! LOVE it

    Reply
  34. Lucy - February 24, 2018 5:20 pm

    Sean, you have a gift. I want to affirm your calling to this ministry you do.
    Hallelujah and pass another parable!

    Reply
  35. Sarah Kennard - February 24, 2018 5:53 pm

    Did not see that coming. You already have the heart and the soul of an old man, and I mean that in the best possible way.

    Reply
  36. Cindy - February 24, 2018 6:10 pm

    I want to live in a world
    Like this! I want to be like this!

    Reply
  37. Gloria Wethington - February 24, 2018 8:45 pm

    You did it again. You made me cry. Such good tears! Sean, you have a rare gift of connecting people! Thank you! And thank God!

    Reply
  38. Jody - February 24, 2018 9:06 pm

    Thanks for sharing this great story. Your caring spirit and the stories you write are a blessing.

    Reply
  39. elainenkarrh - February 24, 2018 10:06 pm

    I’am ugly crying again,Sean…

    Reply
  40. Frieda Borntrager - February 25, 2018 12:33 am

    There is a lot of good left in the world that never gets reported. Thanks for this story!

    Reply
  41. Martha Wells Register - February 25, 2018 1:23 am

    I am a firm believer “You can’t out give God”….This brought tears of thankfulness to my eyes…God is so good,,,

    Reply
  42. Dr Sam Amari - February 25, 2018 1:28 am

    Well written,soul-searching materials that everyone can relate to and benefit from,thanks!

    Reply
  43. Jon Jones - February 25, 2018 1:40 am

    Okay Sean, did it again. I’m an old guy in a Ford truck.

    Reply
  44. Dell - February 25, 2018 2:58 pm

    Oh goodness, everything is blurry…

    Reply
  45. Victoria Coleman - February 26, 2018 5:50 pm

    Oh, wow…

    Reply
  46. Barbara Schweck - February 26, 2018 10:31 pm

    Oh, my gosh! Reminds me of the time my dad bought a young couple with several kids four tires. They were stuck in a very small motel room next to my parents house in Florida. They could not pay anymore motel rent nor could they pay to get new tires to leave. My dad met him while they were both fishing on the dock. My dad fished for pleasure, the young man to try to feed his family. I was so proud of my dad and it certainly left a huge impact on me

    Reply
  47. Mary Ellen Hall - February 28, 2018 1:12 am

    WOW, another story about an older gentleman helping others. These are REALLY TUGGING @ my heart!!
    ABSOLUTELY BEAUTIFUL!! SO REASSURING to know these things still happen!! ❤
    THANKS SO MUCH FOR SHARING SEAN!!!

    Reply
  48. Mary Lee - March 4, 2018 12:40 am

    WOW!!!! Thank you.

    Reply
  49. Terri - May 8, 2018 12:35 pm

    This is pure gold. I am officially a junkie now, I HAVE to start my day with your good words, Sean.

    Reply
  50. Mary Ann Massey - May 8, 2018 1:31 pm

    DANG IT SEAN!!!!! Bawling ……. AGAIN!!!! LOVE YOUR STORIES…..

    Reply

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