On September 1, 2012, James Groccia, a 10-year-old boy with Asperger’s, wrote a letter to LEGO about their now-discontinued Emerald Night Train set.
He saved for 2 years – accumulating $100 – and when he finally had enough to purchase it, the price skyrocketed to over double that on sites like Amazon and eBay, since the set was now a discontinued collectible.
He wrote, as follows:
My name is James Groccia and I am 10 years old. I have been playing with many Lego sets and products since I was about 4 years old. I have brick sets, Hero Factory, Creationary, Lunar Limo and more. I participate in a Lego Playgroup to help with my Social Skills (I have Asperger’s Syndrome) and I love playing with Legos at home (I play with them every day).
A couple of years ago, I saw The Emerald Night Train set (K10194) and fell in love with it. I wanted it right away, but my parents said I had to save the money to get it. 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 on line 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! It seems the only way to get one now is to pay $250 on Amazon or ebay, since now it is considered collectible.
I got another Lego set, thinking I could forget about the Emerald Night, but every time I see it anywhere on line 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!
Your most loyal Lego fan,
James G. Groccia
LEGO responded saying that it had, indeed, been discontinued — and that was basically it.
And then James got the surprise of his life 2 days before his birthday:
He also received this note:
We are always thrilled to hear from our LEGO fans! You truly have a passion and joy for LEGO. I am amazed at how many sets you have at only ten years old! I am a very big LEGO fan myself and enjoy some of the same sets you do. We received your letter here in Consumer Services and were very touched by your determination.
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 set. It is very evident that no other set could make you happier. We can understand how disappointing it must have been to find it had been discontinued. Due to your passion for LEGO and your heart-warming letter, we knew we had to go above and beyond to help make this a reality.
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. We are excited to know that we could help make this dream come true for you! Now there will be no more sadness or disappointment when you think about it …just happiness!
We hope you will continue to love to build and create with LEGO. 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!
Consumer Services Advisor
Excuse me…I have something in my eye…