Everyone has that one car in their life. For whatever reason, it’s the one that sticks out in your memory as being your car. For some, it’s the car they learned to drive in, or the first they got to fix up themselves, or even the first one where they used the back seat for necking.
For Wesley Ryan, it was his 1993 Mustang, lovingly dubbed “Christine.”
The car helped Wesley get around San Antonio to softball games, always accompanied by his “shadow,” son Jake. It was the car in which he brought his daughter, Jeni, home from the hospital when she was born, and it was the car that would sometimes refuse to start for his wife, Laura, until Wesley showed up and it would instantly purr. That mind of its own was what inspired the nickname “Christine.”
The Mustang was, essentially, a part of the family — and Wesley Ryan is all about his family.
“You know, our family, we had some rough times. You do what you have to as a parent, as a father — that’s how I looked at it. … My reward is my kids’ success,” Wesley tells Yahoo Lifestyle.
In the early 2000s, Laura, who was Wesley’s high school sweetheart, was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. To help pay for her medical bills, Wesley decided to sell his car. “The materialistic things is not me. I never expected to see that car again,” he says, although it did break his heart to see it go.
For Wesley, his happiness was with his wife, who is now 13 years cancer-free, and the success of his children. “Have them do better than we did” was his goal as a father, he says. You can hear the pride in his voice when he speaks about Jake, a police officer, and Jeni, who is working to become a teacher.
In January of this year, Wesley’s mother passed away. “It hit me like a brick,” he says. “The kids told me I didn’t have my spark. They wanted my spark back.”
Jake, a car guru like his old man, is known to search Craigslist for new toys, and two years ago he came across Christine. The car had the same VIN and the same familiar scuffs. When he contacted the owner, they weren’t able to agree on a price, and he let it go. But a few weeks ago, he found the car listed again.
“He found my car again, and this time, he told himself there were no excuses,” Wesley recounts to Yahoo Lifestyle. “It was coming home. He called my daughter, and she got with her boyfriend. The three of them put their money together,” he said. “They brought her home.”
Sitting blindfolded on a curb in the parking lot of a Kohl’s, at the instruction of Laura and Jeni, Wesley heard a truck pull up and knew it was Jake.
When Jake started to play the Zac Brown Band’s “My Old Man,” Wesley admits, he began to cry.
“The biggest problem the world has right now, we don’t love each other. … This shows what the world can do for each other,” Wesley says. “This shows what family can do. … It’s always been about my kids. It’s always been about my wife.”
While speaking about his family, Wesley often sounds on the verge of tears. “I’m so blessed. I’m so proud. I’m so humbled.”
Jake was able to purchase the vehicle back from a woman whose mother recently was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Wesley tells Yahoo that he plans on putting both his wife’s name and the woman’s name on the car when he and Jake finish their repairs.
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