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Old 04-19-2010, 02:58 PM   #1

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PLEASE READ -- Customer letter - "What does Camaro mean to me?"

I just received a note from one of our fellow enthusiasts on this board.

He wrote me this note, I believe, because he'd read my "Defining Moments" post. This is a heart-breaking story, but I'm pleased beyond belief that our Camaro was able to bring such joy............

I simply cannot imagine the pain that this man and his family must experience each and every day.....

I'm warning you - you are going to need a handerchief........

Please keep Mike and his family in your prayers.........

Mike writes:

My son . . .


Dear Mr. Settlemire:

I appreciate how you share your thoughts regarding the new Camaro. Your pride in your career and the Camaro shines through your words.

I'd like to tell you about what the car you built meant to my son.

When he and I went to Transformers for the first time, he fell in love with Bumblebee and marvelled at what an incredible car it was. I too fell in love with the Camaro instantly and on the way home from the movie we talked about what it would be like to have one.

I told him that some day, if we can, we would buy one and when the time came for him to drive, it would be his.

I got my order in last April and it arrived late in June last year. He was so excited and every day, rain or shine, he'd ask if we could go for a quick ride. He couldn't see much from the back seat but I could see his face lit up in the rear view mirror.

In October, he helped me prepare it for winter storage and as I disconnected the battery and it fell asleep, we looked at each other like “What just happened?” Lying with him at bedtime that night, we talked about it and it surprised both of us to know we were both on the verge of tears. Every week or so, we'd go out and check on it just to make sure it was safe and we talked through the winter months about our first cruise of the spring and how much fun that would be.

My son Dawson passed away in mid February from a stroke suffered after surgery to remove a brain tumour. He was eight years old.

In the weeks that passed, I would check on his sleeping Camaro but my excitement over our first cruise was now gone. Instead, I looked at that car and wondered how I could ever drive it again. At one point, I almost decided to sell it but finally figured Dawson would want me to enjoy it. How could I get rid of his first car?

In late March, I pulled the cover off and installed the battery. I felt a shiver as the interior lights came on. I was nervous turning the key to start it but it only cranked for a second before it fired and the sound of that engine filled the garage. While the sound and smell excited me, I cried and cried that my boy wasn’t there to see it come to life.

I fulfilled my promise to Dawson. I took his ashes, wrapped them in his favorite blanket, buckled him into the front seat, and he and I cruised around for a while. He loved music, especially Rock and AC/DC in particular but when it came to riding in the car, the stereo was always off. He and I listened to what he called the “music of the car”.

I will keep the car and have ordered a vanity plate in his memory. From time to time, I will take him out for a cruise on a warm summer evening and remember his beaming face in the rear view mirror and the excited, nervous giggles from the back seat when I’d punch the gas in a low gear.

I want to thank you for the special moments that car brought my son. He was always telling others how his Daddy drove a 2010 Camaro and some day, it would be his. Like I said, I can tell how proud you are and I want you to know the joy that your hard work brought to a little boy, even if for such a short time.

Thank you

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Old 04-19-2010, 03:04 PM   #2
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As a parent of two young boys myself, who are also in love with daddy's "orange bee" I can't even imagine what this man must have been and is currently going through.

People say all the time " it's only a car " but sometimes, it's much more than a car.

RIP Dawson, and may god bless your family.
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Old 04-19-2010, 03:05 PM   #3
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wow... that one hurts... Those were very kind words considering the situation. It's not just a car to many of us.
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Old 04-19-2010, 03:05 PM   #4
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There is no greater praise for a auto designer than memories like that.
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Old 04-19-2010, 03:06 PM   #5
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Old 04-19-2010, 03:10 PM   #6
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WOW! My eyes watered the whole time reading it. May God Bless you, and your family, Mike.
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Old 04-19-2010, 03:11 PM   #7
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Very cool, but sad story. Never underestimate what a car can mean to some people.
I am not useless, I can still be used as a bad example!
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Old 04-19-2010, 03:13 PM   #8
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Holy cow I'm all misty now. I'm a father so I can imagine how hard that must be. God bless & R.I.P.
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Old 04-19-2010, 03:14 PM   #9

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Wow, that was like a punch in the gut.

absolutely heart wrenching, my heart goes out to the OP.

I'm sorry for your loss, but also grateful for the time you spent together.
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Old 04-19-2010, 03:17 PM   #10
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Thank You fbodfather for sharing that with us, adn yes, it brought tears to my eyes. There is no doubt those memories will last for all of time.
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Old 04-19-2010, 03:18 PM   #11
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Scott, thank you for sharing Mike's letter. It is very heartfelt and our prayers go out to Mike.

Wow, that is a tough one. It shows that the Camaro is way more than just a car. The Camaro and the Transformers movie is and always will be an inspiration to children.

Thank You for taking the time to shake the hands of my 11 year old son and 8 year old daughter on Friday. They relate you directly to the Camaro and it meant a lot.

I hope that Mike and Dawson share many rides in their Camaro.
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Old 04-19-2010, 03:22 PM   #12

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Old 04-19-2010, 03:28 PM   #13
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My prayers are with the family... R.I.P. Dawson.
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Old 04-19-2010, 03:30 PM   #14
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Wow.... That was so sad...

To imagine Dawson's face in the back seat, to his ashes in the front seat. Man, I'm getting another tear... I bet he's a very happy little boy up in heaven with God. With his soul back in his Camaro.

I will pray for Mike and his family.

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