NEWBURGH – A theft of two ride-on tractors owned by a pair of 4-year-old twins who lost everything in a house fire last year, created quite an uproar on Facebook.
The post reached a couple Good Samaritans, who decided to do something about it.
“They were devastated. The kids were absolutely devastated,” said Jenny MacArthur-Purdy, mother of the twins.
“Lily, our daughter, didn’t want to go to her grandparents anymore because she was afraid that if she left, someone would come and steal from her,” added father Jonathan Purdy.
“And she slept with all of her toys, and her books and her dress up clothes in her bed,” her mother said.
While the family was away over Memorial Day weekend to celebrate the fourth birthdays of twins, Lillian and Malcolm, a thief took her pink tractor and his green one.
“We posted it on Facebook and that blew up,” Purdy said.
“Seven hundred. More than 700 people shared our story,” his wife added. “Unfortunately, it didn’t lead to us finding the kid’s toys.”
The post did, however, reach a couple people who wanted to help out.
“I showed him the post and he told me to call Walmart,” Michelle Harmon said of her husband, Jim Boucher, owner of Jim’s Precision Auto in Brewer.
Her husband then found a post from friend Larry Ekert who also expressed an interest in replacing the kid’s tractors.
“I got a private Facebook message from Jim and Michelle saying they were going to get one and Larry was going to get one and they were going to make it alright for our kids,” said MacArthur-Purdy. “I was like blown away.”
Their dad took the twins and their older brother, Brayden, over to precision auto in Brewer to pick up the two battery-powered tractors and a new bike helmet for Brayden, donated by another friend.
“I told the kids that you know while there are bad people out there in the world, there are more good people than bad people out there and here are some good people who heard about what happened and want to talk to you about it,” Purdy said.
When the family arrived, Lily went right over to Boucher and grabbed his leg and said, “I hate thieves,” he recalled.
“Thieves and trespassers stole my tractor,’” is what the little girl said, Harmon said. “She was just adorable.”
The donation means so much more because the family lost everything they had last year when their house burned down.
“Two little kids who are barely four years old shouldn’t lose something that matters that much after they’ve already lost everything else,” Harmon said.
The new tractors have renewed the family’s outlook on life.
“This is why we moved from a big city to this small community,” MacArthur said. “To feel that sense of community. That people really care.”