James and the Emerald Night Train

LEGO Emerald TrainAn eleven year old boy who has autism saved up his money for years in order to buy a very special LEGO set. Imagine the disappointment he must have felt when, after reaching the amount he needed, it turned out that he still could not afford to buy it! Fortunately, this story is one that ended in a very happy way.

You’ve heard of LEGO. It is the company that makes little colored plastic bricks of different shapes that can be easily snapped together. The bricks can be popped back apart later on, and used to build something else. LEGOs are a toy that children of all ages, both boys and girls, love playing with. Let’s be honest – many adults love LEGO, too.

As you probably know, LEGO makes many different kinds of sets. Some are based on movies, like Star Wars, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, and Pirates of the Caribbean. LEGO also makes creator sets that have all the pieces you need to build a helicopter, plane, house, vehicle, and more. Some are currently in production and others are out of production and difficult to find.

James Groccia is an eleven year old boy who lives in Massachusetts. He has Asperger’s Syndrome. James had his heart set on buying a special LEGO set that is called the Emerald Night Train. He decided to save up his birthday money, and other cash, until he had $100.00, (the price of the special LEGO set).

It took James two years to save up enough money. Unfortunately, in the time between when James first decided to start saving money, and the time he managed to save up $100.00, the price of the Emerald Night Train had gone up. The reason for the price increase is because it was no longer in production. This makes toys, including LEGO toys, become “collectibles”. It also makes the price go up.

Sadly, this meant that James was pretty much out of luck. James attends a LEGO play group. While he was there, a therapist suggested that James contact LEGO directly and explain how much he wanted the Emerald Night Train set, and how long he had been saving to get it. He wrote LEGO a letter that was mailed on October 1, 2012. In the letter, asked if LEGO had any more of the sets at their headquarters.

A few weeks later, LEGO sent James an apology letter. They acknowledged James’ disappointment, and apologized for being unable to accommodate his request. This isn’t the end of the story. LEGO shipped out box to James for his birthday, October 19. Inside, was the Emerald Night Train Set!

Image by Bill Ward on Flickr