The foul odor had permeated the entire interior of the car. The car Kevin had bought his daughter as a birthday present. What could have caused a smell this terrible to emanate from somewhere within the car?
He looks around, checks underneath the seats and in the trunk, nothing. He then glances over at the glovebox, the last place he’d considered checking. He felt a knot form in his stomach as he reached for the handle to open it.
Kevin Duke was a single parent who worked hard to provide for his daughter Louisa. He worked as a local handyman and every dollar he earned he put towards his beloved daughter.
So when this devoted dad surprised his daughter with a generous gesture, he had no idea it would turn into uncovering something truly unimaginable.
Kevin’s daughter Louise was the apple of his eye. She was most definitely a daddy’s girl, and even though she was about to turn 16, she would always be Kevin’s baby.
So, with Louise’s 16th birthday just around the corner, Kevin knew he had to make it a birthday she would remember for years to come. And she would, but for all the wrong reasons.
As it was Louise’s 16th birthday, Kevin decided to pull out all the stops for his daughter. Not only had he got her a fantastic birthday cake, but he was going to surprise her and buy her a second-hand car!
After a few days of searching for the best car with the best deal, Kevin finally found the perfect one. Or so he thought.
Kevin was super excited to give Louise her car. He knew just how great it felt to be driving around the city in your very first car.
It would definitely put a smile on her face. But what Kevin’s daughter would later find in the glovebox of her new car, would leave her feeling sick to her stomach.
Kevin was well aware that purchasing a second-hand car can be a risky move, so he made sure the car was in near enough tip-top condition. When he went to view it, he test drove it and all seemed good.
This car was pretty much perfect! There were no funny noises, the engine ran smoothly and the salesman seemed trustworthy. But Kevin had no idea what was hidden deep inside the car.
The second-hand Ford Focus looked spotless. There were no scratches on its paint, and the inside of the car felt and looked brand new.
Kevin traced his fingers over the leather and polyester seats, studied the engine lights and briefly dialed through the radio stations. To his surprise, it seemed like a really great first car!
Kevin stood in front of the car and debated what to do. He could see the salesman was on edge, eager for a sale. After a few minutes, Kevin finally made a decision.
He shook the salesman’s hand and loudly proclaimed, “I’ll take it!”. He was handed the keys and he drove the car back home, all the while not knowing something terrible was a mere few feet away from him.
On the way home, Kevin realized he had a problem. He had to hide the car until it was his daughters birthday, which was in a few days time.
The garage was the only place he could hide it, but it was a mess. He quickly scolded himself for not cleaning out the garage before he left to collect the car. A plan quickly formed in his mind.
His daugther would be coming home from school any minute. So, Kevin parked the car a couple blocks down and immediately got to work cleaning out the garage to make space for the car. He shoved boxes into shelves and tucked away the ladder and scattered gardening tools.
He ran back to the car and drove it into its new hiding place. She wouldn’t suspect a thing. But then again, neither did he.
Kevin closed the door to his garage, and kept it hidden until the big day. Little did he know however, that his plan meant something else would stay hidden with it too.
The build-up to his daughter’s big day was tense. He didn’t want to ruin the surprise. And when her big day finally came, nobody expected what was going to happen.
It was the morning of Louise’s birthday and Kevin woke up early to prepare Louise’s big surprise. He made himself some coffe and strolled out to the garage. He noticed a strange smell in the garage but didn’t think much of it.
Instead, he quickly opened the door and released the handbreak and gently pushed the car out of the garage to avoid suspicion. He closed the door and tied a ribbon to it’s bonnet.
Kevin prepared breakfast and ran out to welcome her at the bottom of the stairs with two gigantic balloons and a smile plastered on his rosy face.
His baby girl had officially grown up. He could feel a tear well up in his eye as she made her way downstairs. He gave her a hug and then told her that her present was outside. Kevin thought it was going to be a perfect day, but he was so wrong.
Louise ran outside and to her delight, she saw a car with a ribbon tied around it. “It’s yours!” yelled Kevin from behind. Louise’s face lit up with joy. She was over the moon at her new car.
She raced over, opened the door, and hopped inside. But then suddenly, Kevin watched his daughter’s smile turn upside down.
“What’s wrong?” Kevin asked. “It smells, can you smell it?” Louise replied, her lips pouting. Kevin poked his head into the car properly this time and straight away he retched in disgust.
He held his nose while his daughter scrambled out and slammed the door shut. The father-and-daughter duo had no idea what they were about to uncover.
Kevin and his daughter looked at each other, feeling both stumped and freaked out by the terrible smell in the car. This car didn’t smell like this a few days ago.
Kevin bit the bullet and headed back inside the car to find the source of the smell. But he had no idea that there wasn’t just one surprise waiting for him. There were two.
Kevin jumped inside the car and looked around to try and find something that looked unusual. But everything was as it was when he left it a few days prior after picking it up. It looked brand new.
He looked under the seats but there was nothing there. He followed the foul smell and reached for the dashboard. As soon as he opened it, he was lost for words.
Kevin pulled the leaver and opened the glove box. Immediately, the smell became ten times worse. He buried his nose into his arm as he grimaced. But what he saw, surprised him.
There was nothing that looked grotesque but there was something that looked unusal. Sitting in the glove box was a protective rubber matt that was hiding something underneath.
Kevin took a deep breath before he pulled the mat out. But the second he did, he saw a letter fall out. Confused, Kevin left the matt and picked it up. He turned over the envelope and a shiver ran up his spine.
In black-ink with dainty hand-writing, Kevin read who the envelope was addressed to. It read “New Car Owner, Important Info Inside”.
Kevin suddenly became alarmed. Did that mean him? Hundreds of questions flooded Kevin’s mind as he sat clutching the mysterious letter he found in the glove box.
Should he even open it? Who was it from? What did it say? There was only one way to find out. Without a second to waste he started to rip the envelope open.
Kevin thought that the letter had something to do with the awful rotting smell in the car. While he opened it, he wondered if this was all some kind of elaborate prank.
He imagined the prankster taking a picture of himself with his work, laughing at his daughters expense! He began to feel angry, but he had no idea that his theory was way off.
The letter started by saying, “To the person who gets this car, you have got a very special vehicle. This car holds a lot of memories for me. I hope it’s the best car you’ve ever had, and I want it to run for 100 years”.
Kevin continued reading and with each line of text he read, his heart gushed with emotion – this letter was heartbreaking. Kevin never in a million years would have thought buying a car would result in him receiving a letter like this. So what did this meaningful letter say?
Kevin’s fingers gripped the letter as he continued reading, “This car belonged to my beloved mom. She passed away on the 25th February 2015 in a house fire with my six-year-old daughter and aunt”.
Kevin found out that this letter was from a woman called Sabrina Archey. Unfortunately, her daughter, mom, and aunt had passed away in a house fire, and was forced to sell the car due to financial difficulties. But this car was more than just a car to Sabrina.
This small, run-down car was something that held so many incredible and monumental memories for Sabrina. It was where she and her family sang along to their favorite song. It was where Sabrina changed far too many diapers in the backseat.
This car was also the only item of her mother’s that wasn’t destroyed in the fire.
As Kevin continued to read the letter he could feel a lump in his throat and his eyes started to well up. His daughter, who was also reading the letter from behind, consoled her dad.
Kevin felt awful that he had first thought so badly of whoever was behind the letter. He also felt bad for buying something that meant so much more to somebody else. When he was ridden with guilt but he was also no closer to understanding why the car suddenly smelt so bad. There was another surprise in store.
Unable to stand the smell for much longer, he stood out of the car. When he finished reading, he looked to the black rubber matt the he discarded earlier.
The woman in the letter mentioned that she left them for someone else to enjoy because she couldn’t bare to throw them out. With a worried and grief-stricken face, Kevin lifted the black rubber matt.
When Kevin saw what was underneath, his eye’s welled not just from the awful smell, but out of sadness too. There hidden beneath the matt of the glove box was the culprit of the smell.
Without the letter, it probably would have taken him a while to figure out what they were. They had grown discoloured and leaked into the bottom of the glove box. His daughter gasped.
The woman in the letter referred to them as her “daughter’s favorite snacks”. She didn’t have the heart to remove them. They were tubes of banana flavored yoghurts. One of which, must have burst in the heat of the garage.
They must have stayed cool enough when the car was outside in the dealership that they didn’t cause any smell. But Kevin couldn’t be angry. He was so touched by her story that he did something else entirely.
Kevin posted the letter and the incident online on a social media page called ‘Love What Matters’. Within a matter of hours Kevin, the letter, and Sabrina’s story had gone viral!
Thousands of people expressed their sympathy for Sabrina. Even Sabrina herself saw the post! But nobody, not even Sabrina, could have expected what would happen next.
Due to the attention Sabrina was getting from Kevin’s post, many people from all across the globe, got in touch, and donated money in order for her to get back her old car.
Incredibly, Sabrina managed to do just that! Sabrina received thousands of dollars which meant she was finally able to buy back her old car! But what about Kevin?
For Kevin, he didn’t mind saying goodbye to his daughter’s new car. In fact, he was glad that Sabrina was getting it back. After all, this car wasn’t just a car for Sabrina; it was something so much more.
Having her car back enabled Sabrina to let go of the past and take a big leap into the not-so-scary future. And for the first time, Sabrina was ready. Kevin was also looking forward to the future.
Sabrina bought back her car from Kevin which meant he could buy his daughter another car just like it. However, this time, it wasn’t much of a surprise and Louise didn’t care!
The new car was more than enough for his daughter and she was even more proud and inspired that he gave the other car back to its heartbroken owner! As far as birthday’s go, it was an exciting one!