By happenstance, I was introduced to one of the most heartwarming stories I’ve heard in years.
Last week, my brother’s family was visiting from New York, and my photographer sister-in-law fell in love with this little wooden car I had among my props.
I explained how I had happened upon it at a church rummage sale, and there was a stamp on the bottom indicating it was made locally, just a few miles from us, if she wanted one.
We decided to try to track one down. We could make out the name on the stamp, John William Brown, along with a smudgy Allen TX address and phone number we could barely read.
With a little help from Google, we pieced together Mr. Brown’s phone number and gave him a ring to see if he was still in the toy car making business. However, the voice on the other end was his kind son Montie with a story I will never forget.
“My dad made those cars, and he passed away several years ago,” Montie told me. “The original plan was to make and sell the cars, but that didn’t exactly happen,” he said with a chuckle. “Dad just kept giving them away!”
After carefully crafting the cars, painting them, and testing the wheels, Mr. Brown had a stash of these darling treasures stamped, ready and waiting to light up kids’ faces.
Whenever Mr. Brown and his family would go out to a restaurant, if he spotted a child, he would surprise them with a little wooden car! In a time before smart phones were keeping kids entertained at every table, these gifts must have been a welcome treat for kids and parents alike.
We know that not all Santas wear suits, and John William Brown was no exception. It warmed his heart to spread joy to children everywhere he went. In fact, he not only gifted these toys but hand crafted them too, so I guess you could call him Santa and Elf in one!
Better yet, these free cars also came with a generous lifetime guarantee, Montie informed me. Even though Mr. Brown has passed, his family still honors the lifetime guarantee. Should the paint ever chip or a wheel break, he assured me they will fix it up good as new!
I can only imagine there are many families all around the area who were lucky enough to have been gifted one of these handmade wooden cars by the Mr. Santa Brown in Allen. Those original recipients I’m sure have a story to tell and might even have a few children of their own by now. I’m sure the next generation is enjoying these precious wooden treasures just as much!
Do you have one of these little wooden cars with John William Brown’s stamp? If you do, could you do me a favor? Send me a quick note here. I would love to hear your story! It would be awesome to have a collection of stories and photos to share with the Brown family to help them see how this sweet man’s legacy lives on.
How many of these darling cars are still around DFW?
You can reach out to me with your story here >>