Patch Hurty had big dreams when he penned a batch of letters to car companies, asking them if they would send him badges from their vehicles. In fact, the youngster had no idea what sort of treasures he might get in return. But when the responses started to flood in, the little boy got a lot more than he could ever have imagined.
Like many young children, Patch has a passion for cars. From pushing toy trucks around at home to watching real vehicles whizz past the windows of his house, the little boy just can’t get enough of motors. And one day, a chance discovery near Patch’s house sparked his interest in automobiles that bit further.
You see, in 2018 Patch’s mom Lindsay happened upon a Ford logo on the sidewalk near her home in Connecticut, while she was out walking one day. It appeared as though the badge must have come tumbling off a vehicle that had been driving through their neighborhood.
So, knowing how strongly Patch feels about autos, Lindsay picked up the decal and gave it to him when she returned home. Of course, as far as the motor-mad little boy was concerned, the badge was a special find. And he explained to CBS News in February 2019 why he thought that his mom had given it to him. He said, “Because I love cars!”
Patch loved his new treasure so much, in fact, that it got him thinking. You see, the little boy decided that it might be pretty cool to gather badges from all sorts of different cars. And from that moment, Patch embarked on an epic hunt for more decals and made it his mission to create a giant collection of them.
Patch’s mom and dad also liked the idea of him trying to acquire different car badges. After all, as well as being a lot of fun, they figured that the activity would also be educational for their little boy. Lindsay told CBS News, “My husband and I thought, ‘This is a great way to encourage [Patch] to read.’”
Of course, it goes without saying that collecting items is not a novel idea. For thousands of years, in fact, children and adults all over the world have been amassing impressive assortments of all kinds of things. And these days, marbles, soft toys, stickers and football or character cards are just some of the treasures that kids seem to find appealing.
However, these objects are probably a little easier to come by for most youngsters than the commodities that Patch was after. Toys and collecting cards are sold in many stores, after all, and children often receive such items as gifts on their birthdays, at Christmas or for special occasions.
Plus, there’s always the chance that children’s friends may own some of the same collectibles too. And that would open up the possibility of swaps and trading – activities that have gone on in playgrounds for many years and that are great ways to boost kids’ collections.
However, car decals are arguably a little harder to collect than baseball cards or marbles. That’s because, obviously, the logos are attached to automobiles themselves, and they can be difficult to buy separately. And young Patch would certainly have his work cut out for him if he expected to simply forage for badges that had fallen off cars.
Luckily, however, Patch was not alone in his mission. His brother and sister joined the effort, and together – calling themselves Team Hurty – they set out on their quest to find car decals. And Patch later explained to CBS who had been the most useful member of the group. “My big sister,” the boy said. “All my little brother did was make funny faces.”
But even with the support of his family, Patch still faced a big challenge ahead of him if he were to collect all the badges that he wanted. Yes, he needed a plan, and his mom helped him come up with the perfect idea. They would write to a load of car companies to ask if they could help them out – no less than 50 of them, that is.
However, writing letters to that many car brands may well have been a tough ask for a young boy who was just getting started in his education. But Patch’s mom, Lindsay, helped him come up with a solid pitch to ask each automobile firm if it could spare any of its decals.
In his letters, Patch outlined his mission, explaining to the automakers that he would love a badge from each of their cars. According to CBS News, the little boy wrote, “I wonder if you might have a left over decal from the factory floor. It would be my dream come true to collect all the car logo decals.”
Team Hurty also decided that they did not want to approach the vehicle manufacturers empty-handed. With this in mind, you see, they decided to send a little offering to each of the companies. And so, young Patch raided his own piggy bank for coins and then attached one onto each letter.
What’s more, Patch’s family took a series of pictures of him standing next to various models of cars. Then, where possible, they included the snaps in the relevant letters. And if all that weren’t enough to convince the motor companies, the car-crazy youngster also made sure that he personally signed each note before popping it in the mail.
It’s fair to say that Patch dreamed big from the outset. And so Team Hurty did not just target all the current car names. The trio also wrote notes to a number of car companies that are no longer in operation, such as The Saturn Corporation, which stopped producing vehicles back in 2009.
Then, once all the letters had been mailed, all the family had left to do was wait and see what the responses would be. Would Patch hear back from the car companies at all? And, even more importantly, would the letter campaign help Patch add to his budding collection of decals?
Thankfully, signs started emerging that the family’s hard work had indeed paid off. And responses from automobile companies across the U.S. – perhaps moved by young Patch’s heartwarming letter and enthusiasm – began to pour through the family’s mailbox.
Even more surprisingly, though, it was not just decals that were arriving for Patch. Although the logos were all that the child had asked for, he received plenty of personal notes too – and even some other cool car merchandise. Plus, most of the companies also sent back the coins that Patch had stuck to his letters.
Among the car brands that replied was Volkswagen. And the German automaker told Patch that his messages had put smiles on its employees’ faces. According to reports, the letter from the representative at the company said, “Your letters have made a lot of people in our offices happy, Patch. I am very glad that you took the time to reach out and share your dream. Keep spreading happiness, and good things will come your way.”
Meanwhile, BMW sent a note to Patch too – along with a brand-new badge. The letter read, “It’s great that you enjoy watching Ultimate Driving Machines cruise past your house, and we are happy to send you the enclosed shiny new BMW emblem to add to your collection.”
What’s more, a package from Lincoln Motor Company included an original pencil drawing of a Lincoln Continental – a luxury car which was first produced in the 1930s. And across the top of the image, a message had been scrawled, which said, “We look forward to seeing you, kiddo! Drive safe, and do well in school!”
Swedish manufacturer Volvo Cars also made its contribution by sending a badge for Patch’s growing collection. But the company’s generosity didn’t stop there. In fact, the automaker went as far as to stuff Patch’s package with a frisbee and other merchandise that no doubt delighted the little motor enthusiast.
And if that weren’t enough, Volvo also provided Patch with a handwritten note, which read, “We appreciate you being a Volvo fan and hope you like the emblems and the gifts. Good luck with collecting car decals. We wish you all the best!” And staff sweetly signed off the thoughtful message with, “Your friends at Volvo.”
But that wasn’t all. In fact, replies kept rolling in from manufacturers far and wide – both big names and more obscure brands. Chevrolet and Rolls-Royce, for instance, also responded to Patch’s request, and nine different people signed a letter from Infiniti. The DeLorean Motor Company gave the little boy a badge too, which is probably one of the most rare and special items in his collection.
You see, DeLorean was formed in 1975 and only ever produced one model: the stunning DeLorean sports car. The now-iconic automobile has distinctive falcon-wing doors that rise into the air – rather than opening sideways. And you’ll probably recognize the vehicle from its recurring role in the Back To The Future movie trilogy, in which it features as Doc Brown’s time machine.
Presumably, then, Patch was over the moon to receive a logo from DeLorean. And he hit the nail on the head when he explained why he thought the company had sent him one of its decals in response to his plea. The young boy told CBS News, “I think [DeLorean] felt very happy that somebody loved what they have.”
Meanwhile, some companies did something a little different to help Patch with his mission. British luxury car manufacturer Bentley, for instance, delivered an actual center cap from the wheel of one of its plush vehicles. Such a special treasure presumably made the little boy’s day when he unwrapped it.
However, not all of the companies that Patch and his family approached had decals lying around. Some companies had ceased production, for example, while others didn’t have any logos to spare. And there were even a few automakers that no longer made the specific decals that Patch was after.
But rather than just put Patch’s dream aside, many of these companies still did whatever they could to help with his project. Some motor manufacturers sent kind notes, for instance, or various items of merchandise related to their brands that any car enthusiast would be sure to love.
For one, Jeep got in touch with Patch to let him know that they couldn’t ship him a badge. And yet the staff member who had received Patch’s request sent back a parcel full of gifts anyway, posting the youngster a pen, a key-chain, a cap and a metal emblem.
Meanwhile, Japanese company Suzuki couldn’t deliver any decals because it has stopped selling cars in the U.S. Still keen to contribute somehow to further Patch’s cause, though, Suzuki sent him some stickers, a key-ring and some pamphlets about their motorcycles – which may well end up sparking another passion!
Another Japanese vehicle manufacturer, Isuzu, could not come up with a decal, either, because it is no longer making cars. But all was not lost, as the organisation does still sell various trucks. And so, the company sent Patch a few small toy models based on its larger vehicles.
So, Patch’s collection of cool merch grew and grew as he heard back from more and more companies. And one thing became clear: his passion for cars and his unusual request had struck chords with people working in the motor industry. CBS News quoted one mechanic, for instance, as saying, “The only difference between [Patch] and me, is he has hair still, and I don’t.”
Yes, many people clearly took delight in Patch’s mission and urged him to keep exploring his interest in motor vehicles. According to the magazine Popular Mechanics, one worker from Bentley wrote, “Thank you for sharing your love of cars with me.” Meanwhile, a handwritten note from Honda said, “We hope your love of cars continues to grow.”
What’s more, the letter campaign also led to other amazing experiences for Patch. The young boy got the chance to visit a local motor car dealership, for one thing, where he was able to peruse an array of plush rides. He even got to see a Testarossa – the flash sports car that is manufactured by iconic Italian car firm Ferrari.
Motivated by the fantastic response from the car manufacturers, Patch will presumably continue to pursue his hobby. And who knows how big his collection of car merch will come to be? For now, though, the boy still has a good few years ahead of him before he can get behind the wheel himself!
But when that exciting day does come, and Patch is happily clutching his license, he knows exactly the type of car that he wants to take out for a spin. Yes, he told Popular Mechanics that his first ride will be a Ford – because it is the brand of the original decal that he put in his now-thriving collection.
In Patch’s interview with Popular Mechanics, he elaborated on the driving force behind his choice of automobile. He said, “I still have a warm spot for Ford in my heart. It was the first decal I ever found, and it started this project – a project of love and cars.”