Teen leaves note on stranger’s van, and 8 years later receives the strangest phone call

Would you be able to picture your dream car? Some people have an answer that comes to mind straight away. The Toyota Corolla is the most popular car in the world, but that doesn’t mean it’s everyone’s dream car. No, these are usually the ones that come with big engines, hefty exhausts, and plenty of speed. Or, they could be vehicles that hold a special place in your heart. Maybe the DeLorean from the sci-fi hit Back to the Future has always been a dream car? Perhaps it’s Herbie the Volkswagen Beetle from many Disney films that get you talking? Whatever it is, it can be hard to get our dream cars out of our heads, no matter how impractical they might seem. With all that said, if there is one car that has taken the world by storm, it’s the VW camper van.

The VW was first thought up in 1947 and was on the road just three years later. Now, it has grown to become an icon all around the world. These cars can conjure up images of beach adventures, road trips, and everything in between. However, one person was about to take their love of the van one step further. This teen left a note in a stranger’s van, but little did he know 8 years later he would receive a strange phone call.

Reaching for the stars

It seems no matter where you go in the world, you will see a Volkswagen camper van. They are perfect for any task, right? Going on a camping trip? Get a VW camper van. Heading to the beach? Get a VW camper van. Need somewhere to sleep on a road trip? You get the idea. The vehicles have been in production for over six decades, and it looks as though their popularity could be set to grow and grow as time goes by. In fact, some people would do anything to get their hands on one, including pay out over $300,000 for their very own set of wheels. Kyle Cropsey was one of the many willing to go as far as he could…

Growing up with the love

Kyle Cropsey admits he has had an infatuation with VW camper vans ever since he can remember. Their unique shape, the sound, the feel you get from one – there is nothing about these vehicles that this youngster doesn’t love. Over the years, Kyle would often stop and take every opportunity he could get to take a look at camper vans everywhere. It could be in a parking lot or at the beach; there was nothing he wouldn’t do to see one in the flesh, even if it did mean pulling the car over at the side of the road. However, there was one van that got Kyle excited more than any other before. It was perfect.

Another day at the beach

Kyle was just 16 years old at the time when he was on the way to Rockaway Beach in New York. The plan was to spend the day surfing with his friends. However, this teen just had to stop the car. There it was. A VW camper van. It was everything Kyle had been looking for over the years, but what made this vehicle so special compared to all the others? No one could understand, but Kyle needed to get a closer look at the van.

Dreams can come true

This wasn’t just any camper van. No, this was a 1971 blue and white Volkswagen Type 2 camper van. The color is the most popular choice out there on the road, but this vehicle was special. The Type 2 is no longer in production, yet somehow Kyle had stumbled upon one in the flesh. He knew he was lucky to get the chance to stand next to one. To Kyle, this was more than just a vehicle – it was the car of his dreams.

A permanent reminder

The teen began to look the car over. It had everything he could possibly want and more! Plus, it must still be working as it was pulled up. Everything was falling into place, and Kyle was so excited he could hardly contain himself. However, looking at the car wasn’t enough; Kyle wanted a permanent reminder of seeing one with his own eyes. The teen asked his friend to take a snap of him with the camper van before posting it to Facebook with the caption “My future car.”

Don’t ask, don’t get

The whole encounter was about to go one step further than anyone thought. Kyle used the chance to slip a note through the window, but what could he possibly want? Maybe Kyle was asking for a test drive? Perhaps he wanted to see the inside of the van? No, this teen wanted it as his own. Kyle grabbed a piece of paper, wrote down his number and explained he would love to own the van, and poked it through the crack in the window. Unfortunately, it didn’t all go as planned.

Never giving up the dream

As soon as Kyle let go of the note, it tumbled to the floor out of sight. Now, it looked as though Kyle would never hear from the mystery owner. At least he had tried. Although he had to forget about the van he had just seen, the teen never gave up the dream of one day owning his very own microbus. Over the years, Kyle dropped notes into around 20 VW camper vans asking for a phone call if they ever decided to sell up and move on.

Never outliving the goal

Eight years went passed as Kyle continued to hunt down the perfect camper van to start his collection. In this time, the youngster headed off to college and graduated as an English teacher. Now, he was working at a high school. However, he had never been able to shift the idea of one day owning a Volkswagen van. Plus, Kyle still loved to go surfing just as he had all those years ago. A camper van would complete his lifestyle perfectly.

Another side project

Although Kyle might not have got the blue and white van he had been after eight years ago, the teacher had another project to keep him busy: a VW Westfalia camper van. Kyle had been revamping his van for months and was loving the chance to restore the vehicle to its former glory. The teacher worked tirelessly to get it up and running, so he and his friends had a way to head to the beach to surf. However, something still felt as though it was missing.

An unexpected call

It was just another day for Kyle in April 2018 when his phone began to ring. Who could it be? Kyle checked the screen to see a number he didn’t recognize. He wasn’t in the mood to talk to a call center, but something made him answer anyway. This phone call was about to be the answer to all of his prayers. It looked as though the universe had plans for Kyle all along. Now, it was time to put them into motion.

A tragic tale

Kyle answered to phone to see who could be on the other end of the line. It was a man named Cris Mead. Kyle had never spoken to him before and was confused to have a random stranger on the phone. Cris continued to explain that his father, Cornelius, had recently passed away. He was 82 years old and had been living as a photographer in Queens, New York. It sounded as though Cris had been through a tough time, but that didn’t explain how he had got Kyle’s number or why he was telling him this story.

A final farewell to all earthly belongings

Cris wasn’t only dealing with the grief of losing his father. No, he was also having to sort through all his possessions he had gathered over the years. From books to trinkets and everything in between, there was a lot of work to be done. Now, Cris had the tough decision of deciding what to keep and what to let go. Cris and his sister agreed that Cornelius’ car had to go and decided to start cleaning it out. Only, as they began, his sister found a book with a note tucked inside.

Blast from the past

However, this wasn’t just any note the siblings found in their late father’s car. It was the message Kyle had left all those years ago. It looked as though Cornelius hadn’t missed it – he had been keeping it safe until he needed Kyle’s number! Cris and his sister agreed that his father must have kept the note for a reason. They just hoped that it wasn’t too late and Kyle still had the same number. As soon as the phone started ringing, they knew it was fate.

Plenty of tales to tell

Cris continued to tell Kyle all about his dad’s camper van. The vehicle was named Matilda and had been an enormous part of Cornelius’ life. He had driven Matilda all over the country, as well as taken her on many family vacations. In fact, Cris can even remember sleeping on the floor of the camper van when he was a child. Now, Matilda had been around the clock more times than anyone could remember. Kyle loved the stories, but surely it must be falling apart by now?

Plenty of love and affection

It turned out that Cornelius was totally in love with Matilda. In fact, the photographer would often pump a lot of his money into making sure the van was kept in tip-top condition. All his love and care meant the engine was still running in perfect order. It seemed Cornelius would have done anything to keep Matilda on the road. Now it was up to Kyle. Did he still want to take Matilda on as his own, or was he ready to let her pass by?

United at last

Of course, Kyle couldn’t let the chance to own Matilda pass; he had to take her on! He had waited eight years for the phone call. Now, Kyle was finally hearing the news he had been hoping to hear all these years. The family knew they could sell the van for a small fortune, but they weren’t in it for the money. They knew how much Matilda meant to their dad and wanted her to have a good home. Instead, they gave Kyle the van free of charge. They just had one condition.

One final clause

The family all asked that Kyle could keep them up to date with the renovations he was making on Matilda, as well as letting them know about the adventures she got to see in her new life. Kyle knew the van needed a lick of paint to bring Matilda back to her former glory. However, the teacher was amazed to discover the radio was still in working order. Cornelius really must have looked after his vehicle.

A driveway buddy

Kyle couldn’t wait to have Matilda as part of his crew, and now has her proudly parked next to his lime green van he has been working on over the last few months. Kyle’s dad, Robert, wasn’t happy to hear the news they would have another camper van parked in their driveway. However, once he saw Matilda in the flesh, he knew she would be the perfect addition to their home. It looks as though no one can resist the charm of a camper van after all.

Plans for the future

Kyle has plenty of plans for Matilda in the future. It might be early days still, but Kyle wants to make sure she is fully renovated over time. Once she is ready, the teacher plans on using the camper van to take his friends to the beach, just like Kyle was on his way to go surfing when he first saw Matilda all those years ago. He is finally living the dream he had been thinking about all this time. However, that’s not all. The whole experience has taught Kyle a valuable lesson.

Passing on the joy

This teacher had his life changed from one kind action from complete strangers. Now, Kyle wants to make sure he can give back to the universe in the same way. He might have to wait months or even years before he gets the opportunity to help the world, but Kyle is willing to wait. Perhaps this could be the start of a chain reaction? Hopefully, Kyle’s kind gesture will be able to help someone else make their dreams come true.

Another reason

Interestingly enough, there’s more to Kyle’s infatuation with Volkswagens than meets the eye. If you thought that his love for the fabled car was mainly due to its color, shape, and size, think again. There is another key factor that enabled Kyle to fall in love Volkswagens, and it mainly has to do with the fact that it’s a German car. Kyle loves Volkswagens not just for what it is, but also for what it represents emotionally within the context of his life.

It’s about those roots

It turns out that Kyle actually has Irish roots. His mom is originally from there, and he still currently has a lot of family that lives there. When he was a young kid, he would go on family vacations out to Europe to see his family. Now, the Volkswagen may not be an Irish car, but as we already acknowledged, it is a German car. And as we’ll soon point out, this will have made all the difference in Kyle falling in love with it.

Volkswagens all around

The Volkswagen may have been invented in Germany, but it obviously became a very popular car. And the place where it was most famous was in all of Europe. Just the mere fact that Kyle would constantly visit his family in Ireland meant that he was constantly in contact with Volkswagens, more than he ever would in America. Contrary to what some people think, the car was certainly a lot more popular in Europe than in the states.

Emotional ties

Here’s why we get to the crux of it all. It’s one thing to tie yourself emotionally to something after you’ve gotten older, but it’s another to connect yourself deeply into something when you’re still a young lad. At that point in your life, you’re still learning so much about yourself, and it seems that Kyle learned everything he ever needed to know about his love for cars during those trips to Europe – he was a Volkswagen man through and through.

Familial influence

We are always influenced by the people around us, and it actually turns out that Kyle wasn’t the only one in his family that had a strong love for Volkswagens. He said that as he grew older, he and his loved ones would always be on the hunt to find one. Whether it was him and his parents, his friends, or even his girlfriend. Everything knew how much Kyle loved this car, and it seems that they were starting to develop a strong love for the car as well.

No license Kyle

In fact, we think that you’ll really get a kick out of this part of the story. Remember how we said that Kyle originally saw the dark blue Volkswagen while driving around Rockaway Beach? Well, it turns out that he wasn’t even the one driving – because he didn’t even have a license at the time! His mom was the one driving, and pulled over so Kyle could get a good look at it. He wanted the car before he even knew how to drive.

Joke is on you

Another aspect of the story that we haven’t really made light of is the fact that the original picture that he took with the Volkswagen was supposed to be a joke! The picture that he posted on social media with the caption, “My future car,” may sound poetic when we look at it now, but let’s be real. Kyle obviously never actually expected to eventually become the sole owner of the car – but as we know, life had other exciting plans for him.

Unexpected phone message

The details of how the original owner got in touch with Kyle are actually more surprising than we originally stated. Cris didn’t just “get in touch” with Kyle – he left him a message on his answering machine. What he said in the message started off in a pretty innocent manner: “Hi, I’m looking for someone named Kyle.” Kyle had just gotten home from coaching when he heard it – can you imagine how surreal that must have been for him?

Frozen solid

The message proceeded as follows: “You left a note in my dad’s Volkswagen, asking if we would ever sell this.” Kyle’s eyes were probably wide as trash can lids by this point. It continued, saying, “And I just called you back.” The contents of this voice message were actually relayed by Kyle himself, who probably was frozen solid when that message came in. Remember – he had completely forgotten all about that Volkswagen from years ago.

You never know

Kyle suppose to Newsday, a broadcasting station that publicized the story for the world to see, and explained that the whole thing was “a dream come true.” But it’s so much more than a dream come true. It’s a beautiful dose of karma that a person deserves after taking a chance in life. He left the message, knowing that you truly never know what might happened. He accepted that he probably would see the car ever again – but he did.


There is also a level of selflessness at play in the story, a truly generous act of kindness that we must acknowledge as well. It’s the fact that Cris gave the Volkswagen to Kyle for free. This detachment from material things without needing compensation shows us so much of the character of our subjects in the story. It shows that they connected to each other before they had ever spoken. It was Matilda that brought them together.

Matilda building bridges

Yes, Matilda the Volkswagen is the true hero of this story. How often does that happen in life, where a strong connection is forged based around a common interest. This happens at baseball games, it happens at magic shows, and it happens at rock concerts. It’s all about those mutual interests, and sometimes the ability for two individuals to bond over something that they’re both passionate about can allow someone to not care about something as trivial as money.

It’s a small world

As part of his conversation with Newsday, Kyle continued to throw out a few more interesting words of choice. When something of this magnitude happens to you, it can give you a taste of the divine powers of this world, and it seems that this is what was happening with Kyle. “It’s just weird how small the world is,” he said, “And how things really come back.” It seems that Kyle was trying to explain something profound here, but was having trouble to find the perfect words.

Beyonds words

Because there really aren’t any perfect words sometimes. To truly state how you’re feeling about something, to really lay it all out there – this is a feat that even the greatest artists and intellectuals around the world struggle with. Explaining something is technical, and riddled in logic. Kyle has just experienced something transcendent, the kind of thing that leaves you in a daze, and unsure what to say next – and we totally understand that.

Full circle

But even though it wasn’t easy for him to really pinpoint his giddiness over the whole affair, it seems that he found his stride when he declared the following statement: “When you put things out there, they find their way back to you.” It’s so simple, so innocent, and yet so perfect that only someone who had just gone through what Kyle did could have said it, and meant it like he did. His tone was supremely zen, and we all felt it.