Every Christmas for 17 years, Cassie Gretschel and her family have gifted her physically and mentally disabled brother a toy truck.
And not just any old truck. It’s the best best one, in his eyes.
The Tonka Police Hummer truck is “literally the only thing he will play with,” says Gretschel of her 25-year-old brother Max. But each year, it becomes increasingly more difficult to find.
They not only gift Max the truck for Christmas but for his birthday each May, as well.
“They used to be really easy to find because we would just get orange ones, and then I made the mistake of finding a blue one on eBay and now he only wants the blue ones,” the 30-year-old divuldged to Buzzfeed News.
The truck was manufactured in 2000 and later discontinued by Tonka. Gretschel has eBay alerts set up so she never misses a posting and can scoop up any of the trucks as soon as they’re listed.
Even so, she says finding them is like “mission impossible.”
One of the reasons why Max is so fond of the toy, according to his big sister, is that the lever on the truck is “super handicapped friendly.” Max has cerebral palsy and scoliosis.
The bright colors and structure are “pretty much the holy grail for a visually impaired kid,” says Gretschel. Max plays with them daily for hours at a time.
And although they have piles of the trucks, only 12 are still active and the others are kept on hand for spare parts. She’s tried customizing different toys to resemble the trucks in the past, but Max can always tell the difference.
Knowing the hunt had become increasingly more difficult, Gretschel posted about it on Reddit. Needless to say, Max’s touching story immediately went viral.
People immediately began responding asking if trucks they had were the one. Others went as far as to purchase them online in other countries to have sent to her.
Reddit users also contacted Tonka about Gretschel’s request to see if they could help.
“As soon as we received the first email,” said Jessica Gonzalez, a spokesperson for Funrise Toy that owns Tonka, “no one at this office batted an eye and we began searching for the toy immediately.”
Gonzalez said they were able to get Gretschel’s address and send her as “many of the those hammer trucks we can find” and noted their plans to make custom adjustments to other trucks in the future that are more friendly to Max’s needs.
Max’s story is just another example of how amazing people, and companies, can be when given the opportunity to shine. We’re so happy Max will have his favorite truck to enjoy this year and in years to come.
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