From time to time I may drift on writing about startups during the holidays, one of my favorite times of the year. This is one of those times. I read a great story today found on consumerist.com.
Typically, theconsumerist.com works as a warning to buyers and consumers across the country and around the world. You usually find customer service worst practices, and read stories about big companies screwing over the lifeblood of their business.
Theconsumerist is also like a snopes.com for consumers of sorts. Sometimes when you’ve heard of a deal that’s too good to be true or a big box store running an ad for something that doesn’t quite add up, you can get the real deal from theconsumerist.com. While a lot of their stories aren’t “good guy” stories it’s an important site to keep up with the consumer world around you.
Well they changed up today, probably in that holiday spirit, and reported about something over the top that Lego has done. Lego has been the reigning king of the building block world. If Apple designed building blocks, they would undoubtedly be legos.
Well an 11 year old Massachusetts boy with Asperger’s Syndrome developed a love for Legos. The blocks were a toy that he used as part of his social therapy. A little over two years ago, James, saw a lego set he fell in love with, the Emerald Night Train Set. The set cost close to 100 dollars. It has over 1000 pieces and a working train when it’s all complete, with a motor.
After two years of saving birthday money, holiday money and allowance James finally had enough to get the beloved train set. But it turns out that the set had been discontinued. Once Lego discontinued the set the cost immediately doubled on Amazon and Ebay from collectors trying to make an extra buck. Of course no one is blaming them, that’s what happens with Lego sets. However $214 was out of James’ price range.
James took to emailing Lego, this is what he said:
“For two years I kept all the money I got for birthday and holiday gifts, some of my allowance and some money I got for participating in a research project. At last, a couple of months ago I had my $100 and was ready to buy the LEGO set of my dreams. My mom started looking for it online and could not find any. We checked the LEGO store in our area and they didn’t have it either.
I was completely crushed. You’ve stopped making it! I got another LEGO set, thinking I could forget about the Emerald Night, but every time I see it anywhere online I get very sad and disappointed. I still want the Emerald Night so badly, but there are none to be found. Do you have any at your corporate headquarters? Perhaps I could get one that way? If you have any other ideas, I would be happy to hear them. I have never wanted a LEGO set so badly ever in my life.”
Lego originally wrote back thanking him for writing and explaining the set had been discontinued. However 2 days before his next birthday James received a mysterious box in the mail with the following note:
‘The Emerald Night Train is a wonderful set, so we can understand why it is your dream to own it. I commend your willpower and patience to save money for over two years just to purchase this. We have located an Emerald Night Train for you, James, and included it in this package! I am sure you will enjoy building it and cherish your time playing with the train. Fans like you are why we are so lucky as a company. Who knows, maybe you will be working for The LEGO Group one day! You certainly have the heart and passion for our bricks to do so! Happy building, James!”
Watch this heartwarming video of when James received the Lego set in the mail accompanied by a letter from Megan the Lego employee who fulfilled James’ wish (It’s ok to cry)
A PR person with Lego explained that after they discontinue a set of Lego’s the company holds onto a few for archives, museums etc. They were able to locate the Emerald train set and sent it to James free of charge. James had purchased a different set of Lego’s with the $100 he saved up.