A hitched wagon and a bashful star

My friend Amanda likes to keep things low key. Reflexively kind, she operates under the Midwestern mantra that says see a problem, solve the problem and then move on.

Last Monday evening, she noticed her 92-year old neighbor Armin outside pacing his yard in obvious distress. When she found out what had happened, Amanda offered to help.

Then, she posted the following on her Facebook page:

So here’s a long shot. Our 92 year old neighbor left his radio flyer red wagon out by the road on byrd Street to go eat what his wife made for supper. When he came back out it was gone. We just figure someone thought it was free. He is devastated and has had that since 1960. He keeps pacing his driveway hoping he might see someone who knows something. Its red and has faded white letters. If anyone sees it can you please let this poor guy know.

Generally, Amanda uses Facebook to post updates about her husband and three kids for her friends and family back home in Michigan. She’ll also post the occasional cute pet video, and a funny meme or two. She’s no selfie-taking influencer and she had no idea the post she just shared was about to go viral. She just wanted to do whatever she could to help her neighbor get his wagon back.

At last count, Amanda’s post had been shared 93,000 times, with many people offering to give Armin a red Radio Flyer Wagon to replace the one that had been taken. Alerted to the post, Radio Flyer even contacted Armin to see what they could do to help him out and Menards offered to replace the tools that had been in the wagon when it was taken.

Armin appreciated all the offers, but he really wanted his own wagon, the one he’d had for 60 years, back.

On Friday, thanks to Amanda’s post, Armin got his wish. It turns out a man had taken the wagon from the curb because he thought the owner had set it out with the garbage. He had no idea, until someone told him about Amanda’s post, that Armin had left it on the curb because he was using it for a project he intended to complete after he had finished dinner.

The man brought Armin his wagon and his tools back as soon as he realized what had happened, apologizing profusely for the mixup.

When we congratulated her on her role in the successful return, Amanda deflected the praise.

“I love that so many people needed a feel good story,” she said. “It showed us how people do care about each other.”

It was a simple mixup and when the man who took the wagon realized what had happened, he brought it right back. (Photo and considerate editing of photo, Amanda).
On Saturday, the Appleton Police Department posted this picture of a happy Armin and his returned wagon with the hashtag #findthegoodineveryday
Amanda does not love to get her picture taken, but I have managed to snap a few over and I love this one of her and the guy who calls her his second mom.

6 thoughts on “A hitched wagon and a bashful star

  1. Inspiring story; it makes one happy to see the “love thy neighbor…” understood by so many people.

  2. A nice “feel good” story. There are some honest people around. You are truly blessed, Laura, to live in Appleton, WI, a city filled with such wonderful, honest people.

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