Siblings buy back dad’s Ford Mustang sold to pay mom’s medical bills

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The Ryan family poses with their dad's 1993 Ford Mustang he sold 17 years ago to pay their mother's medical bills. Now cancer-free, she helped her children surprise their father with the gift. | Facebook photo
The Ryan family poses with their dad's 1993 Ford Mustang he sold 17 years ago to pay their mother's medical bills. Now cancer-free, she helped her children surprise their father with the gift. | Facebook photo

Few things could separate Wesley Ryan and his beloved 1993 Ford Mustang GT, but when his wife, Laura, was diagnosed with cancer 17 years ago, he didn’t think twice: He sold the car to help pay Laura’s medical bills.

“My dad without hesitation posted his car for sale and within two days, someone came and got it and that tore my dad into pieces,” Wesley’s daughter, Jeni, told CBS News.

Now, thanks to his children, Wesley and his Mustang — nicknamed Christine after the 1983 horror film — are back together.

Wesley’s son, Jake, told the San Antonio Express-News that he came across his father’s old car two years ago while browsing Craigslist. The car had changed hands a few times and, unfortunately, he was unable to make a deal with the owner then.

But it popped up again a few weeks ago.

“I thought, ‘there’s no way this car is back online’,” he told the Express-News, adding that the then-owner found herself in the same situation Wesley had: She was selling it to pay medical bills.

Jake and Jeni pose with the car before surprising their father. | Facebook photo
Jake and Jeni pose with the car before surprising their father. | Facebook photo

Jake called Jeni and the two — along with Jeni’s boyfriend – pooled their money to buy the Mustang. The trio conspired with a cancer-free Laura to surprise Wesley with the gift in a nearby parking lot earlier this month.

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To say Wesley was shocked would be an understatement. A viral video of the surprise showed him start crying the second he saw the car and he appeared to be overwhelmed by the situation before hugging his family.

“Me and my brother both agree buying this vehicle is nowhere near what my dad has done for this family,” Jeni told CBS News. “I played sports, so has my brother, and if we needed cleats… my dad was the first one to spend the last penny to make sure we were fully equipped with stuff.”

Wesley said he was grateful for the gift his family gave him, but he was even more proud of the people his children had become.

“What they did for me shows where they are: they are balanced human beings,” he told the Express-News. “My wife and I have succeeded, we’ve raised productive adults, it’s the strongest, most-powerful feeling that a parent can have.”

Wesley greeted the car like an old friend. | Facebook photo
Wesley greeted the car like an old friend. | Facebook photo

As for Jake, he said he can’t wait to get under the hood with his dad and give Christine the makeover she deserves.

“I’m gonna be wrenching while he sits back and tells me what to do, that’s what I’m looking forward to,” Jake said. “I can’t wait to turn the key and hear it running again.”

Carter Nacke is a graduate of the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University. He began his career at KTAR News 92.3 FM in Phoenix, the largest news radio station in Arizona, where he specialized in breaking news and politics. A burgeoning interest in classic cars took him to the Journal in 2018. He's still on the hunt for his dad's old 1969 Camaro.

9 COMMENTS

  1. That is a heart wrenching story and I have to agree with Wesley the best part of the story is how the family used the values they were taught to repay their father for the his good deeds. May God bless you all!

  2. Its amazing how much cars play a big role in our childhood memories. I’m 61 years old and still have conversations with both my parents about the cars our family had (before divorce) back in the 50s, 60s, and 70’s. As the oldest child I have enlarged the photos of my parents first car, a 1954 Buick Special…. that although purchased used, look like the day it came from the factory. We laugh now about how long it took for either one of my parents to finally have a car with factory air conditioning (in humid Michigan summers) let alone power windows & locks! However, what really "drove home" how much cars play into a family was back in 2012 when I cleaned out my grandparents home after they both had passed away within months of each other. When it came time to go through my grandfather’s dresser I came across a set of keys and original window sticker to every car my grandparents had every owned. It started with a 1954 Ford Coupe but then moved on to Thunderbirds & Lincolns (a Ford man to the end). My grandparents 1961 Thunderbird was the first in our family to have factory A/C. Boy do I remember sitting in the backseat with "my feet on the floor, hands in my lap, and not speaking until spoken to" all the while that cold A/C was blowing during the ride back to my parents after dinner at my grandparents. My grandparents last car was a 2003 Lincoln Town Car…. that I still have in storage. It had 14,000 miles on it when it became mine. Now it has 25,000 miles in 2018. It only comes out of storage when I go back east to visit family.

  3. This kind of story inspires me. I’d love to be able to do something like this for my father. Congrats to the mother for beating cancer! Not all cancer patients are so fortunate…

    • I’m just choked up now. These kids are wonderful and Mine where raised the same way. Hey guy’s if you see this i’ll take my 69 Super Cobra Jet Mustang back. LOL

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