When an oops turned wonderful!

         With so many counties in various and sundry state bearing the same name it is understandable that a misunderstanding could arise when a contest is being run by a county in one state is seen by someone in another state but in a county of the same name if the state is not prominently visible.  Well this is the story of just such a mix-up that turned out beautifully in the end.

He Wrote a Heartfelt Letter Asking to Go Hunting, and Despite One Big Mistake, a South Carolina Sheriff Over 500 Miles Away Answered the Call

Decked out in brand-new hunting clothes and toting a fishing pole and a pair of antlers, 9-year-old Alex Collins was all smiles as he walked through Philadelphia International Airport on the last night of 2014.

He was fresh off a whirlwind hunting trip in South Carolina that garnered national attention — and more than a few misty eyes — because of the series of crazy circumstances that made it all happen.

“It was fun, I rode four-wheelers, I went fishing and I went hunting,” Collins, a fourth-grader from West Chester, Pennsylvania, told WTXF-TV.

Image source: WXTF-TV

His single mother, Leslie Collins, greeted him at the airport and told Chadds Ford Live that what should have been a disastrous miscue ended up launching Alex’s life-changing journey and was “the best mistake I ever made.”

‘It’s Just Me and My Mom and She’s Too Sick to Do Stuff’

Alex’s mom happened upon a Facebook contest offering a day of hunting and fishing with the Chester County sheriff. Given that she and Alex live in Chester County and the kid has been dying to go hunting, Alex wrote a tearjerker of a letter to Sheriff Alex Underwood.

“I really want to go hunting with you,” Collins explained in the best printing he could muster. “I don’t have anyone to teach me. It’s just me and my Mom and she’s to (sic) sick to do stuff. She has a bad heart. I think you are really nice to do this. I hope you pick me to go.”

Image source: WXTF-TV

Alex and his mom personally delivered the letter to the county sheriff’s office — and then became aware of a big problem.

The hunting contest was from the sheriff of Chester County, South Carolina…not Pennsylvania.

“I felt like a great big dummy,” Leslie Collins told WTXF regarding the geographical error of more than 500 miles.

Image source: WXTF-TV

“Alex was heartbroken,” she added to the Herald in South Carolina. “He left crying.”

It’s a Small World

But rather than the mistake dashing Alex’s hopes, it turns out Sheriff Carolyn “Bunny” Welsh of Chester County, Pennsylvania, had mentored Sheriff Underwood, who’s in his first term in South Carolina.

“I was so touched and so moved by this wonderful little boy,” Welsh told WTXF.

Image source: WXTF-TV

So Welsh got on the phone with her friend, told him about Alex’s letter and Underwood agreed to take the kid hunting if she could get him down there.

It was on — and generosity was freely flowing.

Chief Deputy George March put Alex’s plane ticket on his personal credit card while fellow Pennsylvania deputies helped cover costs, the Herald reported.

“Something like this, you can’t worry about who pays,” March told the Herald. “You just want to make a little boy happy.”

In fact, after a preview story ran in the Herald, donations came in from all over the country to fund the trip, which also included hunting gear and clothes for Alex — even Nike LeBron James sneakers.

‘Let’s Roll!’

Last Sunday night, just hours before his plane was scheduled to take off, Alex barely slept — and the fact that it was an early Monday morning flight didn’t help matters.

But all that changed when “Big A,” flanked by six deputies, met “Little A” at the gate. And with sirens sounding and lights flashing, they ushered the excited boy to a sporting goods store where they hooked him up with $220 in hunting gear.

Image source: Facebook

“You spent that much on me?” Alex asked at the register, WBTV-TV reported.

Alex’s one-day trip turned into nearly three days with Underwood and his wife Angel, a magistrate judge.

Leslie Collins told Chadds Ford Live that she heard from Alex only a few times during his trip — but his descriptions were plenty to go on. During one conversation Alex told his mom about the room he was staying in, which included a stuffed deer, turkey, alligator and boar.

In another chat, Alex said he wanted to stay.

Image source: WBTV-TV

As the pair got into Underwood’s truck for a trip to a 500-acre spot so hush-hush that “Little A” had to swear not to reveal it, Collins gamely shouted, “Let’s roll!”

There also was the IHOP stop where “Little A” downed a not-so-tiny helping of bacon, the Herald noted.

Image source: Facebook

“I ordered 17 pieces,” he admitted. “I got full.”

‘I Hate to See Him Go’

Alex never ended up bagging any deer on the trip. But on Wednesday when he and Underwood walked through the airport in South Carolina for Alex’s plane ride back home, that hardly mattered — “Big A” and “Little A” had forged a tight bond.

“He’s an outstanding kid and…” Underwood told WBTV at the airport, his voice halting. “I hate to see him go.”

Image source: WBTV-TV

Then it was goodbye — but not for too long.

After Welsh called her pal Underwood to tell him “Little A” safely arrived in Pennsylvania, she handed the phone to Alex.

Image source: WBTV-TV

“I miss you already,” Underwood told “Little A,” Chadds Ford Live reported. “Come back and see me soon, OK?”

video of this trip can be seen at this link: http://www.14news.com/clip/10995051/trip-of-a-lifetime

found on theBlaze.com 1/2/2015

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Comments (11)

  1. fierylady

    Oh I absolutely LOVE stories like this.

    January 03, 2015
    1. SEC

      me too that is why I like to share them

      January 03, 2015
  2. EyeVey

    Simply amazing!

    January 03, 2015
    1. SEC

      wonderfully so

      January 03, 2015
  3. noahbody

    Totally awesome! A tear jerker!

    January 03, 2015
    1. SEC

      hope happy ones

      January 03, 2015
      1. noahbody

        Yes indeed. Another reaffirmation of my basic belief in humanity.

        January 03, 2015
  4. Bettymom

    What a wonderful story! It’s great to see all those big, healthy he-men with that sweet little kid, all of them having so much fun!

    January 03, 2015
    1. SEC

      isn’t it just

      January 03, 2015
  5. willsblog

    It is a wonderful story, even better because it’s not made up, fabricated, or propaganda but reality. How many kids like Alex A. are out there? How many kids could each of us bless if we tried? How many kids like Alex A. are desperately in need of someone to care for no reason other than they really care? “You spent that much on me?” is priceless. Alex A. is definitely worth EVERY penny and more. I’m actually shocked that the Left hasn’t targeted the Sheriff, claiming that he’s an uncle Tom or some such nonsense for giving the trip to a WHITE boy rather than an African-American boy. Could it be that the Sheriff knows something that the Left leaning media hasn’t yet learned?

    January 04, 2015
    1. SEC

      Just might indeed

      January 04, 2015