Marine Sgt. Nick Walsh loved his 1991 Ford Bronco so much that he vowed to pass it down to his own son one day, as an heirloom of sorts.

But that pledge was shattered. When in 2007, Nick was on deployment in Fallujah, Iraq, he was killed by sniper fire. He was only 26. His son, Triston Walsh, was 4 years old at the time, BND reported.

Though Triston’s mother, Julie, kept the car, it began to deteriorate as the years passed. Julie eventually took to Facebook, as much to explain the situation as to ask for advice. Should she sell the car before it became worthless to anyone? Or should she keep hold of it and risk it becoming nothing more than a sentimental assembly of parts?

The community took note, local businesses got involved, as well as mechanics and dealerships offering to restore the car at no cost.

The big surprise

Julie wanted to surprise Triston on his 16th birthday. In fact, she told him that she sold the Bronco (since it was such a clunker, anyway) and she planned to use the money to buy him a vehicle that actually worked.

Triston was so angry and disappointed that he refused to speak to his mother for nearly two weeks! Because of the teen knew how much this beloved car would make him feel close to his father. He had gotten his hopes so high and wanted to drive it.

Of course, Julie had a trick up her sleeve and arranged to have the moment she presented it to Triston filmed.

In the video, Triston being taken to a car dealership under false pretenses… and the instant the curtain is pulled back to reveal his true birthday surprise.

Rest in peace, Sgt. Nick, we hope Triston gets as much from your old car as you did.

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