The Story of Thomas

In a departure from my usual Sunday Thankful Thoughts post, I wanted to share a very special story – The Story of Thomas.

It’s the story of how miracles happen in the unlikeliest of places and in the most unexpected ways.

angels love trains too

2005 – Thomas Arrives

Long ago, there was a Daddy who loved his Toddler son very much. He wanted to give his son a very special Christmas gift, but he wasn’t certain what to give.  Much to his wife’s dismay, he decided to buy a small wooden train and track.  She felt the boy was too little to be able to play with the train and that the gift was far too expensive.

By March, the mom was happy to discover that her husband had been right and that her son was not too little to enjoy playing endlessly with the train.  She was thrilled to discover the gentle videos with their reassuring messages.

The toddler’s little brother was fascinated with his brother’s sounds of “Chuff chuff” and “Toot Toot! Toooooooot!!!!”  He soon learned to pull up and creep around the train table.

In time, other trains came to stay with the family as both boys learned to play happily in the little wooden world.  The boys were in full “train fever” – squealing with glee at the sight of train tracks on the side of the road in real life.

The boys begged for new trains and more track each week, but the mom held firm. They simply were not in her budget.

The boys had to settle for small additions to their train collection for birthdays and holidays.

Two years passed, and the boy’s love for trains only deepened.  It was all they wanted to play with or watch on television.

2007 – The Angel Arrives

Christmas was approaching, and the mom and dad had a very tight budget. They didn’t see how they could possibly afford to give their children expensive little wooden toys when they were struggling to afford diapers and milk.

After the mom had finished crying, she drove to the resale shop, determined to find something to make Christmas special for her boys.  That’s where she met the angel.

There was a man at the resale shop trying to sell his entire wooden train collection.  It was enough to fill four large plastic tubs to overflowing.  Christmas would be saved!  Against all odds, the resale shop would actually have the one item her children wanted the most.

The mom listened in horror as the resale shop refused to purchase the trains and track.  Thinking quickly, she ran after the angel into the parking lot.  She bravely asked him how much he wanted.


It was all she had.   It was exactly the cash she had in her purse.  It was the diaper and grocery money.

Deep breath.  She bought the trains.

As her hands shook, she called her husband to tell him of her strange adventure and unexpected windfall.  There were several thousand dollars worth of trains in her car – far more than she would ever want her children to own.  Her husband was happy, but worried about what they would eat.

miracles happen

The woman knew of several other moms who had children who loved little trains.  So she called them too.  Within hours, she had sold enough of the trains to earn back her $200 and still had more trains than she needed.

It was an amazing Christmas.  The man brought home some lumber and spent hours gently nailing wooden train down to create a layout just like what was in the toy stores.  On Christmas morning, the boys were both speechless.

For several years, the love of trains continued and the mom was able to dole out small additions of track and trains whenever the situation called for.

But eventually, the boys grew too old for Thomas and his little wooden friends.  They discovered Legos and video games and soccer.

The wonderful train layout moved from table to floor to under the bed.  Finally, it was shoved without ceremony into the garage.

Years passed.  The family remodeled.

And then one day, the mom was in a huge spree of decluttering and cleaning.  She stubbed her toe on a box of unloved wooden trains that clearly needed a new home.

So she posted it on Facebook.  Within minutes, the trains had a new home.

Another mom.  Another year.  Another tearful trip to the resale shop for Christmas gifts.  Another little boy in love with trains. Another dream come true.

As the mom waved goodbye to her friend, she shed a small tear of goodbye to Thomas, James, Percy, Molly, and even Diesel 10.  But she knew it was time.

It felt good to be an angel.

I’m thankful for the unknown man in the parking lot outside of the resale shop.  He’ll never know how many hours of joy his trains brought to my family or to the other families that were blessed.


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Susan Baker
I have a passion for encouraging weary worn out mothers to find joy in everyday motherhood and peace in unlikely places. I have two elementary school boys, one nerdy husband, and two cats. I have a strange fascination for bad puns, the color pink, socks, and books. I worry about running out of toilet paper, wine, and chocolate.. I serve an amazing God. I live an ordinary life filled with wonder.
Susan Baker
Susan Baker

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  1. Just came across your blog today. But I had to share that my husband made a Thomas train table for our kids for Christmas this year. So far they both love it! Looking forward to many years of happy memories 🙂

  2. You have a way of making me cry those happy tears quite often. This is such a refreshingly touching story that I’m so glad you shared with us. Thank you for this Christmas inspiration.

    • Crystal, I wrote this last year and rediscovered it as I was getting my blog ready for Christmas. It helped ME get motivated to clear out our playroom and let go of some things.

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