I had just earned my driver’s license approximately six months before my 16th birthday in the summer of 2002. Because I would be able to drive on my birthday, I began to search around the classified pages of our local newspaper trying to spot a vehicle for sale. It became a ritual, and for a few weeks it was touch-and-go. One June afternoon, my father arrived from work and told me he had spotted a 1987 Nissan pickup that was in immaculate condition. We took a look at the truck that evening, and I knew it was the vehicle for me. The truck didn’t have a lot of perks: no power windows, the stereo didn’t work – it didn’t even have power steering! I didn’t care: it would be my truck – my first taste of true freedom.
Unfortunately, the price was a bit steep. Add to the fact that our family finances were not in the best shape at the moment, and it looked as if I wouldn’t be getting the truck after all. I understood. As much as it crushed me, I knew the previous winter had hurt our poultry farm financially, and my father’s siding business was in a slump. My father told me he was sorry, I said it was okay and I knew a new lead would present itself eventually, and that was the last time we talked about the pickup for a few weeks.
Fast-forward to the end of July. My grandmother was dropping me off at my home while my parents were away. They were at a dinner, and since I had been playing basketball all day with my cousins, I had missed them as they left. It was okay: I had a key to my garage and the backdoor of my home, so I knew I could walk inside.
What I saw in the garage made my jaw drop: there sat the pickup I had been wanting for weeks! I couldn’t believe it: here sat a truck – my truck – ready for me to drive the moment I turned 16.
I asked my father when he returned later that night why he chose to purchase the pickup despite the year’s financial hardships.
“Because you showed maturity when you didn’t get what you wanted,” he said. “I was so impressed that I wanted to reward you with the truck; to show you that goodness and maturity always pays off in the long run.”
It was a pickup wrapped in a life lesson, and even though I sold the truck years ago, remnants of the truck still stick with me today via the lesson my father taught me that July evening.