LEGO Digs Up Discontinued Set for Boy Who Saved Up for 2 Years - HotHardware
LEGO Digs Up Discontinued Set for Boy Who Saved Up for 2 Years

LEGO Digs Up Discontinued Set for Boy Who Saved Up for 2 Years

In need of a feel-good story heading into the heart of the holiday season? Well friends, you have one, and it comes courtesy of LEGO, or "The best company in the world" as seen through the eyes of one extremely grateful 11-year-old boy who received a discontinued train set from LEGO after he tried acquiring it on his own.

His name is James Groccia, and like many kids, he has a love for LEGOs. His just happens to run deeper, and by the time he was 10 years old, he had already accumulated a handful of LEGO sets, including Hero Factory, Creationary, Lunar, Limo, and others.

James Groccia

For Groccia, LEGO sets are more than just toys. He has Asperger's Syndrome, a form of autism, and he participates in a LEGO playgroup to help with his social skills, When he was around 8 years old, he spied The Emerald Night Train set "and fell in love with it," according to his letter to LEGO. Way out of his price range, his parents told him he'd have to save his money to buy it. And so he did, for two years, or an eternity when you're that age. The only problem is, by the time he saved the necessary $100, the set had been discontinued and the only ones available were through second-hand sellers asking $250 for what had become a collectible. He was crushed, but didn't give up.

Groccia wrote a heartfelt letter to LEGO explaining his situation and asking whether they had any at their corporate headquarters. Two days before his 11th birthday, a package arrives from LEGO containing the train set and a letter of its own. Groccia's reaction is captured in a 4-minute video embedded below. Give it a glance, you'll be glad you did.

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So...would they be willing to do this for a 28 year old who happens to love Legos?? I don't play with them any more, but I really loved my Explorian sets. I think when I have a kid, I'm gonna buy some for my kid and be like "sorry, looks like this is too complicated for you, I guess I'll build it!".

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sackyhack:

So...would they be willing to do this for a 28 year old who happens to love Legos?? I don't play with them any more, but I really loved my Explorian sets. I think when I have a kid, I'm gonna buy some for my kid and be like "sorry, looks like this is too complicated for you, I guess I'll build it!".

Man, I never got into lego's.  I honestly don't think I would have enjoyed them, I hate projects that take a long time, unless it involves computers.  But I do recall a friend of mine when I was probably around 10, who used to build lego empires in his bedroom.  Everyday i'd go over there, he'd have a entirely new city built, i'm talking 5 feet tall, by 10 feet long, by 5 feet wide.  We'd have to duck under bridges to get to the TV on the other side of his room.  I always thought it was neat ,but how people get that kind of imagination i'll never know.

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  Man, this stuff hits a soft spot for me.  I'm not sure if it's the fact that a child with a disability triumphed and achieved what the average child would never do, if it's that his family supported him all the way through while teaching him the value of money along the way, or if it's the company that still has a heart and gives loyal fans freebies when approached.  

  Either way, this story is awesome, and I wish stories like these weren't a rare occurrence.  Just look at the last few seconds of the video to see the excitement on his face.

 

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I think the saddest part of this story are the parents!!!! You child has a disability, your child loves Legos, your child NEEDS Legos to help with his social skills and interactions with other kids, yet the parents couldn't spend $100 on Lego train set?! Sure you can ask your kid to save up the money as a lesson but have a disabled kis raised that littl long over 2 YEARS?!?!? They couldn't see his dedication after 6 months and add $75 of their own? AND then after 2 years of raising the money when the parents found out th life went up would you not add your own $ to it and get your kid what he's been saving 2 years for???????

I know money is scarce but you can't tell me the parents couldn't have raised that $100 faster than their disabled child could.

I hope these parents feel like the completely useless parents that they are.

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sevags:

I think the saddest part of this story are the parents!!!! You child has a disability, your child loves Legos, your child NEEDS Legos to help with his social skills and interactions with other kids, yet the parents couldn't spend $100 on Lego train set?! Sure you can ask your kid to save up the money as a lesson but have a disabled kis raised that littl long over 2 YEARS?!?!? They couldn't see his dedication after 6 months and add $75 of their own? AND then after 2 years of raising the money when the parents found out th life went up would you not add your own $ to it and get your kid what he's been saving 2 years for???????

I know money is scarce but you can't tell me the parents couldn't have raised that $100 faster than their disabled child could.

I hope these parents feel like the completely useless parents that they are.

Perhaps you're completely wrong.  Maybe the parents were buying him lego's monthly, but thought that by him saving up his own money for what he really wanted, he would learn the value of money.  He's not disabled, he just has a social disability, and a difficulty learning because of it.  I'm sure by him saving up his money for something he wanted, taught him a life lesson that lego's could not.

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For probably the first time ever, I agreed with you, sevags. But then Dorkstar had to go and make some reasonable argument and now I'm doubting myself. Either way, 2 years for something the kid -really- wanted does seem a bit extreme. I get impatient if a shipment I'm waiting for gets delayed by a day or two!

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RWilliams:

For probably the first time ever, I agreed with you, sevags. But then Dorkstar had to go and make some reasonable argument and now I'm doubting myself. Either way, 2 years for something the kid -really- wanted does seem a bit extreme. I get impatient if a shipment I'm waiting for gets delayed by a day or two!

Alright if it makes you feel any better RWilliams,I spoke with my wife about this.  She has one of those fancy degree things in elementary education, apparently parents teaching children with mental disabilities the value of money is very common.  If the parents  just kept handing the kid everything he wanted, he would never learn the life skills needed to be an independent adult.  Make sense when you don't think the parents are locking him up in a cage.

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$100 is a lot of money for parents who have more than one child. Especially when one of their kids is special needs and needs far more care and attention. How dare you judge someone who is trying to do the very best for their children. My mother was a single mom of 4 girls, we EARNED our money and did without our wants because we were given our needs. Don't ever judge someone before walking in their shoes. That little boy has everything he could ever ask for. And YOU are criticizing his parents for making him strive for one thing. SHAME ON YOU. Merry Christmas.

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I love LEGO so much and this is why. I remember when I was a kid, my grandma let me pick any set form toysrus. At this point I already knew not to pick the biggest thing, so I picked a yellow submarine like thing from an Atlantis set or such. Opened in the hotel, built it, disassembled, packed back up and took it home. Got home, no manual :( Left in the hotel. Sent them a letter and they sent me a legit manual, not a reprint thing, for free, to my house. Also gave me a years membership to lego club or some such.

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.

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You're right ^

I see companies do this all the time, but it at the very least puts some hope into kids. I know that if when I was his age, this happened to me, I would have been blown away.

It's sad to think that they probably wouldn't have done this if they weren't seeing it as a great marketing opportunity.

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I'm going to put my fingers in my ears and mutter "la-la-la-la" like a child would in response to any grinch like marketing explanations or possibilities of parent cruelty.

For a moment, the joy of Lego's in my childhood has brought me back and made that reaction appropriate for two sentences lol.

I ABSOLUTELY Love legos and still do to this day. I played with them and was one of those guids with sprawling Lego cities across my bedroom floor. The joy I had from those alone and with my siblings is absolutely immense and immeasurable. I honestly see them as a source of foundation for creative inspiration, general creativity and problem solving skills that developed over time to be with me to this day, but without Lego's to facillitatte that growth and create that foundation... well who knows.

My Lego projects grew with me to eventually become car projects and computer projects.

Part of the appeal of Lego's to a child is similar to that of building your own computer for the rest of us.

It's also great to see large corporate companies doing something generous and going out of their way to help someone and spread some joy, regardless of whether or not there was anything to gain from it.

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I used to work for a company called Autisim Reponse Team where I had 8 separate children I would work with, some higher functioning than others. I now work for a private k-12 school. I love kids and it's one of the reasons I don't work in telecommunications anymore. I know how important it is to teach kids lessons (especially about money these days), I know all about positive reinforcement, and this kid is higher functioning because he has asperger's and it's actually important to teach a person with asperger's that they have to earn something as they are quite smart and normally try and figure out how to be given everything they want without doing anything or leaving the home... but 2 years is incredibly excessive. The kid learned the lesson at 6 months, at 12 months, but 24 months wouldn't have taught him anymore. He didn't want a $100 video game he wanted Legos that last forever and help him out socially.

Dorkstar; the article doesn't mention his parents buying him new Legos "every month" and the list of Lego sets he already has clearly attests to that. Also if his parents are buying him Legos every month for 2 years and that's why they couldn't afford the train set in that case it's the parents who sound like they would need a lesson in saving money, also you're supposed to lead by example so what sort of example would you be setting buying new Legos every day but making your 8 year old save for 2 years.

Then 2 years has gone by, your child saves the money, set becomes discontinued and price goes up, so parents say "sorry kid you should have saved faster" ? And don't throw in the extra cash? And it's the kid who writes to Legos and not the parents? Sounds like no effort was made by the parents from beginning to end.

Way to go kid. You teach your parents the lessons.

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I was huge into Legos as a kid, we had boxes of them at one point. I remember spending hours in the basement which we called Lego Land back then. The coolest set I ever got was a huge pirate ship in the 90's, yes I was a teenager then, but come on Legos rock at any age!! Great happy article and fun video!

One of my best friends has a child with Asperger's, it can be quite difficult sometimes. He gets very fixated on one thing so it's easy to see this child saving and keeping that Lego set in his mind for 2 years. The parents might even have long forgotten about it. Also, children with Asperger's get very upset (tantrums/fits) if they can't do something or aren't allowed something so teaching the child to earn rewards is a more important than just letting them have everything. People posting comments saying his parents should have just got it for him because he is "disabled" is ridiculous (I've seen it all over the net). If the money is not there, it's not there, a disability isn't going to make it magically appear. besides... If a child is always told 'yes' they will never be able to hear 'no'. This is a fact and an even harder fact when it comes to Asperger's.

James, has found a very smart way of still getting the Lego set he earned over the last two years, which is amazing for him and a great birthday story for the family. Stop trying to make a great ending into something negative. It seems people just don't like happy news anymore.

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My son is 33 and still buys the Star Wars Legos. As a child we built him a 4x6 table for Lego land. My son is now an architect. His love for buliding and designing thngs started with wood blocks then legos. He now bulids his own furniture. With the price of the new sets I am glad he's paying for them.

And I agree with the 6 months lesson learned,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,.

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