8 years after a teen left an innocent note in a stranger’s van, he received an unusual phone call.
Young Surfer Spots Something
Kyle Cropsey was 16 years old when he first set eyes on his perfect vehicle. While heading to the waves at New York’s Rockaway Beach, the young surfer had spotted the object of his affections in a parking lot. And although Kyle had never had a major interest in cars, he had always possessed an appreciation for that style of van.
Object Of His Desires
The teenager’s ideal vehicle was a classic blue and white 1971 Volkswagen Type 2 – also known in some quarters as a “microbus.” The Type 2 first went into production in the late 1960s; and even though this version of the van is no longer made, it remains popular with VW enthusiasts.
Kyle was one such lover of the Type 2, telling CBS New York in April 2018, “Ever since I was young, I had an infatuation with these Volkswagen buses.” So when the Lindenhurst, New York, resident spotted the vehicle on the way to the beach that day, he decided that he would chance his luck and leave a note for the owner to let them know that he would be interested in buying their van.
Stop Right Now
In April 2018 Kyle’s mom Lorenza would explain the moment to Fox 5 New York, saying, “We were driving and he said, ‘Stop, turn around, go back, I need to see that van.” And Lorenza duly turned her car around so that Kyle could do just that – even though she considered her son’s idea to be an outlandish one.
Didn’t Go To Plan
But Kyle’s scheme didn’t go exactly to plan. He had noticed that the window of the van was open slightly, so he quickly wrote a message for the owner and posted it through the gap. After he had pushed the note into the van, however, he watched as it dropped right down to the floor.
Disappointed, Kyle suspected that there was probably no way that the vehicle’s owner would see the note now. Even so, he asked one of his friends to take a photo of him next to the van; the Type 2 enthusiast would also upload the snap to Facebook, optimistically adding the caption “My future car.” Little did he know, though, that a surprising turn of events would eventually make his prediction come true.
Never Been The Lucky Type
Kyle had a difficult upbringing, when times were hard, and never imagined that he would ever be able to afford the luxurious things in life. He loved to dream though and so for one moment he enjoyed believing that some day he would be driving that car. But dreams have to come to an end at some point right?
Years later, he grew up, still dreaming of the day he would be able to buy himself the car of his dreams. He put himself through college, and had many jobs to support himself, so that one day he could support himself and be able to fulfill his dream.
The Day Arrived
Kyle grew up to become a high school English teacher and eventually bought himself a 1976 Volkswagen Westfalia Camper. Over the years, he also left some 20 notes in other Volkswagen vans. But when he received a mysterious call eight years after the Facebook post he made as a 16-year-old, he somehow intuited that the person on the other end wanted to talk to him about that blue and white van in the parking lot.
That caller was Oakland, California, resident Cris Mead. His father Cornelius Mead, a photographer who lived in Queens, had recently passed away at the age of 82, and Cris had had the task of putting some of his dad’s affairs in order – including dealing with Cornelius’ Type 2 van.
According to Cris himself, his father had bought the vehicle when it was new in 1971 and had traveled across the country in it. He had even given the van a name: Matilda. And, his son added to Newsday in April 2018, Cornelius had “treasured” Matilda and spent “more money than any reasonable person would have” just to keep her running.
Sadly, there’s no way to know exactly how many miles Matilda traveled with her first owner, since the odometer resets itself once it gets to 100,000. But Cris has many memories of being in the van on journeys across the U.S. – even of napping on its floor at campsites.
And, after Cornelius had passed away, Cris and his siblings wanted Matilda to go to a new owner who would love her just as much as their father had done. When Cornelius’ family was clearing out the Volkswagen Type 2, however, they made a surprising discovery. You see, tucked away in a book was the note that Kyle had written as a teenager.
Cris later explained that his sister was the one who had discovered Kyle’s note. Acting on impulse, Cris then decided to try Kyle’s number and see if he would still be interested in the van. And when Kyle answered, he was delighted. Cris told Fox 5 New York, “I’m just so happy the note was still in the van and [Kyle] was still at the same phone number. It worked out beautifully.”
What’s more, Cornelius’ family made a crucial decision about the asking price. Even though they may have been able to sell the van for around $1,500, they chose not to shop the vehicle around. Instead, they elected to give Matilda to Kyle free of charge.
Eight Years Later
And so, nearly eight years after he had first set eyes on Matilda and accompanied by his father, Kyle went to finally collect his dream ride. He discovered, too, that the engine was still in good shape, as was the radio – although the van was in need of a new coat of paint to smarten it up.
Fate Handed To Him
In addition, Kyle has said that he believes “fate” had handed him the van, adding to Fox 5 New York, “I’m a big believer in the law of attraction – when you put out good energy and good things come back to you.” The teacher continued, “This bus came back and found me eight years later.”
Refusing Payment On One Condition
But while the Mead family refused payment for Matilda, they did make one request of Kyle. In particular, they asked the high school teacher to keep them updated with details of all the adventures that he and Matilda will go on together.
Kyle’s new van is now parked on his drive next to his lime green VW Westfalia, which he had been in the process of revamping. That’s despite his dad Robert’s initial reservations; Kyle’s father explained to Newsday, “I told him, I really don’t want these things in the driveway.” Robert would ultimately acquiesce, however.
Paying It Forward
And Kyle himself looks set to make good use of Matilda too. He revealed to CBS New York, “My friends will definitely be packed in here. We’ll have surf boards in here.” Reflecting on the kindness that the Mead family had shown him, he also said that their good deed “will definitely be paid forward in one way or another.”
But Kyle is not the only person who has been gifted a vehicle in 2018. In May of that year, Texas high school student Sionna Brenn also received a new car in the form of a Toyota Corolla. One-time music manager Charlie Jabaley had heard Sionna’s story and taken it upon himself to give a generous present to the teenager.
Kindness Of Strangers
Sionna had suffered through abuse and homelessness during her young life; even so, she had still worked hard at school and kept up good grades, and Charlie had thought that her efforts were worth rewarding. As a result, both she and Kyle now know that, sometimes, you can indeed rely on the kindness of strangers.