An Old Man and His Truck

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. I sincerely hope to be one someday.

49 comments

  1. Nan - April 11, 2021 6:57 am

    Sweet story!

    Reply
  2. Debbie g - April 11, 2021 7:59 am

    Great example for all of us thanks for sharing such a sweet story of sharing 😇😇😇

    Reply
    • Muriel - April 11, 2021 5:51 pm

      Tears…

      Reply
  3. Tammy S. - April 11, 2021 8:47 am

    Wow! I did not see that ending coming! 😭

    I grew up with boys who grew up to be men who drive trucks! And they love their trucks in this order: Jesus, family, my truck! Not joking. This is a powerful story. Again, did not see that ending coming. Love it!! Another great one, Sean!!

    Reply
  4. Connie - April 11, 2021 9:39 am

    I love this story. You’ve shared it before but I still get teary eyed reading it. I’m a car person, and there’s something about an old pickup truck. We are rapidly losing the generation that knows how to love a truck and knows what a difference a gesture like that can make to a young person. Thank you for sharing. Love and hugs.

    Reply
  5. Joe Dorough - April 11, 2021 10:05 am

    I’m an old man and I drive an old red ford truck. This story was speaking to me. Thanks

    Reply
  6. Charles "Wayne" Floyd - April 11, 2021 10:52 am

    One of my favorite stories…maybe because I ‘m an old man now.

    Reply
  7. LaRue Speights - April 11, 2021 11:20 am

    Absolutely one of your best columns. I am 79 years old, spent my entire career teaching English literature and composition in a Title one school in South Louisiana. I have been hooked on your column ever since a friend told me about you. I must confess I read your blog before I read my devotional each day. Thank you for helping me survive the last few years. The sudden death of my pastor husband of 54 years and this pandemic have brought challenges to my life, but your words often lead me to keep going and make a difference in others’ lives. Thank you so much!

    Reply
  8. Suzi - April 11, 2021 11:39 am

    there Is still hope fir manKIND

    Reply
  9. Jean - April 11, 2021 11:52 am

    I love this story….and it again shows that there is hope for mankind.

    Reply
  10. Jimpa - April 11, 2021 12:12 pm

    Well, another reason to love Sean…he’s a Ford man!

    Reply
  11. Phil (Brown Marlin) - April 11, 2021 12:24 pm

    Connie, you’re right. Sean has told this one before, but we don’t care, do we? It’s still a great story and a fine life-lesson. I loved reading it.
    LaRue in Louisiana, you hang in there, girl! I’ve said a prayer for you, and I know Sean’s other readers have you in their hearts as well. His blog uplifts me every day, too.
    Now i must get ready to head for Sunday morning worship, but I’m thinking that later this afternoon I may just wax my 2003 pickup.

    Reply
  12. Jan - April 11, 2021 12:44 pm

    Love this story! This is a story that confirms your faith in humanity. Thank you, Sean.

    Reply
  13. Iris Hamlin - April 11, 2021 12:59 pm

    You get to me every time. I’m so thankful I found you, thanks to Kerrie Thompson.

    Reply
  14. Janette Anderson - April 11, 2021 1:00 pm

    NO WORDS. Just eyes overflowing and a big ol’ lump in my throat. Thank you, Sean.

    Reply
  15. Joe Ann Huneycutt - April 11, 2021 1:07 pm

    So touching and heart felt…do small examples of this as often as possible

    Reply
  16. Bob E - April 11, 2021 1:22 pm

    Sure nice to see how the world should work.

    Reply
  17. Molly - April 11, 2021 1:36 pm

    Such a beautiful story! Thank you Sean! And you will make a wonderful old man!!

    Reply
    • Maureen Brown - April 11, 2021 3:59 pm

      Molly, my exact thought. I’m 74 and hope to be around long enough to enjoy Sean becoming an old man.

      Reply
  18. jhoward60 - April 11, 2021 1:47 pm

    Great one ! Thanks for what you do, keep it up.

    Reply
  19. Eleanor - April 11, 2021 2:21 pm

    So touching I cried.

    Reply
  20. Mary Fentress - April 11, 2021 2:37 pm

    This awesome, I wish that things like this could happen more often. And that everyone could hear about it. There are still good people with hearts out here.
    Thank you

    Reply
  21. Bobbie - April 11, 2021 2:48 pm

    Have said it before, but this is the best one yet!! Didn’t see that coming. Oh, for more old men in red Ford trucks! And yes, you’ll definitely be one one day. It’s your heart, you’ll be the same compassionate guy you are now, except maybe with a grayish beard and a few wrinkles. Beautiful story. Thank you again…you keep restoring my faith in mankind.
    Gods bless you and God bless the USA❤️🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸‼️‼️

    Reply
  22. Linda Vaughan - April 11, 2021 2:59 pm

    I always love your stories! Today’s was one of those that are so special that I also read it to my husband, as I often do. Then I looked out the window of our townhouse to see an old red Ford truck that had never been parked there before. A sign?

    Reply
  23. Harriet - April 11, 2021 3:02 pm

    I said ohhhhh out loud into my coffee. I love that ending.

    Reply
  24. Beryl - April 11, 2021 3:08 pm

    This story made my heart grow bigger with LOVE. Imagine if we all did acts of kindness everyday. The magnitude of kindness is not a measure of big or small. The heart of the giver and the receiver will be affected regardless of the size of the kindness. Try being kind today. Don’t expect anything in return. Don’t tell anyone, just do it. Kindness begins with how we treat ourselves. The kindness you bestow may be for yourself. Perfect! You are readying yourself for giving just because you can. And so it is.

    Reply
  25. Patricia Schmaltz - April 11, 2021 3:52 pm

    I ADORE that story.. heard it before and could hear it every day. Love it… and love you. Thank you for making my day (which was already going pretty good). Have a great Sunday.

    Reply
  26. Christina - April 11, 2021 3:53 pm

    Kindness rocks!

    Reply
  27. Patricia - April 11, 2021 4:15 pm

    I cry every time I read this one. Love it.

    Reply
  28. Katherine D Jones - April 11, 2021 4:27 pm

    WOW! We all hope you’ll live to be an old man as well & that you’ll keep on passing on great inspiring stories like this one. Thank you for once again Making My Day! – Keep it up, Sean!

    Reply
  29. Kay Williams - April 11, 2021 4:48 pm

    You do wonders for my dry eye syndrome! Thank you for another beautiful story.

    Reply
  30. Linda Moon - April 11, 2021 5:46 pm

    A Ford man helped raise me. He was part of my large childhood village. I hope you become an old man with a big heart, too. You already have the big heart, so keep hoping for that “someday” to come. My Guy has reached it, and it’s a beautiful thing. The story from this columnist is a beautiful, thing, too.

    Reply
  31. Patricia Gibson - April 11, 2021 5:49 pm

    Love this story! Hope I can help someone like that sometime!

    Reply
  32. Gay - April 11, 2021 6:15 pm

    Sean, you already have the heart of an old man…yiu would have done the very same thing, in fact, I think this is a story of what you did for a total stranger.

    Reply
  33. Gay - April 11, 2021 6:20 pm

    Sean, I just finished the six hour PBS series on Hemingway … you speak to to the American spirit better than that guy ever hoped to write. Keep it up dear one.

    Reply
  34. Susan Jones - April 11, 2021 6:34 pm

    Incredibly beautiful!! Susan

    Reply
  35. MAM - April 11, 2021 6:45 pm

    We pray for you to become that caring old man, too. But you’re got to keep on writing. These stories make eyes leak, but they are so heartwarming! Thanks to God for your great talent to keep us reading and sometimes weeping and sometimes laughing out loud. You keep us on our toes!

    Reply
  36. Tom - April 11, 2021 9:27 pm

    You gotta love old white headed men in Ford trucks.

    Reply
  37. Carol Cox - April 11, 2021 10:30 pm

    Love this. More stories of good deeds needed in this world today. Perhaps it will provide inspiration to strive to be more that old white haired men in Ford trucks.

    Reply
  38. Pondcrane - April 12, 2021 11:47 am

    I hope I can achieve that level of generosity, with the help of your column, maybe I will. Thank-you Sean

    Reply
  39. Kathleen Casteel - April 12, 2021 12:22 pm

    Aw, great story, SD. I lived with an old Ford loving man quite like that for 45 years. Lost him 6 years, 4 months and 12 days ago. They are hard to come by. Miss him.

    Reply
  40. Deb - April 12, 2021 1:08 pm

    I read this to my husband who has an old 72 Ford handed down to him by his Grandpa. He could completely relate to so much in this story. Thanks Sean! You are such a great writer.

    Reply
  41. Angela Prichard - April 12, 2021 4:49 pm

    Lump in throat…tears on cheeks…this is starting to be a regular thing.

    Reply
  42. Brenda - April 12, 2021 6:17 pm

    All those comments speak from me as well. My Dad bought and restored many trucks and cars in his day. My favorite was a 1953 Ford pickup. Forest green with white.
    Miss him!

    Reply
  43. outlawman2 - April 12, 2021 6:36 pm

    If our entire nation read your stories…well, it’d be a helluva lot better country for sure.

    Reply
  44. mark buehler - April 12, 2021 7:58 pm

    Another inspiring story!

    Reply
  45. Nancy - April 12, 2021 11:32 pm

    Well BLESS your goodheart…I got goosebumps on my goosebumps.

    Reply
  46. quaitie - April 14, 2021 9:56 pm

    Since August, 2019, I’ve been dealing with a personal family trauma, so I’ve reached out to many resources to help me deal with it, which includes much reading that leans toward ways of coping, and there are days I just can’t address it because I need a break. Then, after a mammogram, I got a call from the clinic. Women know when you get a call, instead of a letter stating everything is normal, it’s not a good sign. I’ve never been so scared, and no matter how positive I tried being, frightening thoughts seeped into my mind from “How will I get everything done in time?” to “I don’t know how much more strength I have left.” I searched for something positive to distract my mind, and remembered I just discovered Sean two days prior. I began reading his stories and continued to do so while waiting for the answers today. Everything is fine, but if it wasn’t for Sean’s stories, I just might have had a breakdown. I found his work at the right time – or maybe it found me. This story is my favorite so far. I also ordered one of his books today. Thank you Sean for the wonderful reprieve.

    Reply
  47. Katherine D Jones - April 16, 2021 4:34 pm

    Now that is generosity! Thank you for sharing – This made my day. Keep it up, Sean!

    Reply

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