LITTLE FALL, Wisc. – Some homes in Wisconsin have been visited by a disinterested donor a little early this Christmas time.
But it wasn’t a cheerful old man with a long white beard in a red North Pole suit coming down from their chimneys. He was a Little Chute auto repair shop owner with a truckload of lost packages at his front door.
Dan Theimer owned Gracy’s body boutique in Little Chute for 12 years. On December 13, a FedEx-contracted van was towed to its store after it was involved in an accident that destroyed the front of the van. The van was full of 80 packages en route for delivery throughout Fox Valley.
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By the time Wednesday arrived, no one from the van company or FedEx had come to pick up the packages. Theimer said the subcontractor told him, “It’s not our problem.”
Theimer, who grew up in Fox Valley, recognized some of the names on the packages, so he contacted the owners and told them their packages were in his store.
“The first two people who picked up their things were so happy, so I thought, ‘Maybe I’d better see what I can do to disperse the rest of this load,” said Theimer.
Some of the packages had phone numbers on the shipping label, so Theimer called and told recipients they could pick up their items from his store, he said. The other half of the packages didn’t have a phone number, so Theimer loaded them onto his truck and delivered them all to their rightful owners.
“It was absolutely the right thing to do,” he said. I started to think, ‘Christmas is just around the corner. They’re going to want that stuff. “Just seeing the expression on some of those faces when I brought their things. It almost seems like everyone would tell me what was in their package. I didn’t even ask them.”
He delivered boxes for a company party, a sewing machine a mother planned to give her daughter for Christmas, and even someone’s medicine. Deliveries took around three hours, he said.
People were very surprised when he showed up at their house with missing packages. Some had spent time on the phone with FedEx trying to track down their purchases.
“Two separated people were tearful and they said, ‘You have just totally restored our faith in humanity,” Theimer said.
“It was a little thing for me to do, but it felt like a big thing to them.”
It wasn’t until Saturday – a week before Christmas – that someone from FedEx showed up unexpectedly at Gracy’s to pick up the packages.
“I said, ‘They’re already gone,’” Theimer said.
Follow Natalie Brophy on Twitter: @brophy_natalie.