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a letter to mrs. gray

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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Reader Comments (45)

This brought tears to my eyes, I have 2 little boys and I pray that they grow into wonderful men, not unlike the young man in your story.
I'm so glad you shared this with us.

11.30.2009 | Unregistered CommenterEngracia

That is the best story. It warms your heart. It would be easy to chalk this up to holiday spirit, but braver and brighter to chalk it up to the great potential of humanity in the face of adversity.

I will think of this story every time I start to feel frustrated with the world.

Thank you for sharing it!


11.30.2009 | Unregistered CommenterKatie Josephson

Boys really are fantastic. Recently when we were watching my 9 year old son play in the junior school band my 6 year old was playing outside. We came out to see him being carried across the playing field by a year 6 boy (maybe 12 or 13 years old). My son had fallen and scraped his knee.

Seeing this big boy show such compassion and strength (my little one is very heavy) was just gorgeous.

11.30.2009 | Unregistered CommenterSteph

What a wonderful way to start the holiday season with knowing the kindness of strangers is alive and well.

11.30.2009 | Unregistered CommenterAshley

That is the type of boy I am trying to raise with my two boys. I hope Mrs. Gray gets a chance to read this! I know if it were my son you were talking about, I'd have this post blasted all over facebook and would include it with every Christmas card I sent. Proud mama bear, you know. :)

11.30.2009 | Unregistered CommenterJules

So good to hear about teenagers helping others! his parents must be proud of the values they've instilled in him! and good for you for taking the time to let them know about their kind son...your hero! :-)

11.30.2009 | Unregistered CommenterHeather

That is a good man. And a good mother. I hope somehow she gets your letter. And that someday I can raise a good man like that.

11.30.2009 | Unregistered CommenterCitricSugar

I am hoping you actually sent this lovely letter. We are all so quick to point out the bad in teenagers, I myself included. It is always nice to hear that all you have done to teach your kids and help them along this journey is not in vain. They really are listening (and watching!). Being the mom of three teens and one preteen I would love to get this letter and to know that my child was helpful to someone in need. So happy that you felt the same way!

11.30.2009 | Unregistered Commenterpam

Just think how much better we would all feel if we heard stories like this every day, instead of all the bad news. Thanks for sharing.

I hope I one day get to raise a kid to be so thoughtful, what a lovely story.

12.1.2009 | Unregistered CommenterMiss B

Snowstorms can drum up angels now and then!

12.1.2009 | Unregistered CommenterRae

Wow- great story! It really is amazing how nice some people truly are. Be it a child, a teenager, a mother, a father....

12.1.2009 | Unregistered Commentermauri

I grew up in UT and even the locals with experience and snow tires have trouble with that pass, especially in bad weather. I am so glad someone was there to help you. Many people forget to say great things they see in teens. Thanks for your "good news." I bet he was a Mormon.

12.1.2009 | Unregistered CommenterBlogful

Good for Ben, to represent us Utahns so well--it's what most of us do in a snow storm. I'm glad he was there to help you. I hope my boys turn out to be like him.

12.2.2009 | Unregistered Commenteraubrey

That made me cry! I hope I can raise my sons to be like that.

12.2.2009 | Unregistered CommenterBrooke O

Wow. That's incredible. And really great to know he was young. What a fine young man. His parents did a good job obviously.

12.2.2009 | Unregistered CommenterCheryl

What a wonderful letter. I've been reminded a number of times recently how important it is to reach out and tell someone how something affected you, instead of just letting it fade.

12.3.2009 | Unregistered CommenterElizabeth

Love this! I hope that my sons grow up to be Bens.

12.4.2009 | Unregistered CommenterDianne K. Nelson

As the mother of 3 boys, I read the above and thought this perfectly captures what I strive for as a parent. I really don't care about your grades or athletic performance just have a servant's heart. Sigh.

12.4.2009 | Unregistered Commentermelanie

Thanks for posting that lovely letter...it truly brought tears to my eyes.

12.5.2009 | Unregistered Commenteramyks

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