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Stranger buys stillborn baby’s crib at garage sale, transforms it into memorial bench — and gifts it back to mom

There is nothing that would break a mother’s heart more than losing a child. Especially for expectant mothers who carried their baby inside their womb for how many months.

Imagine getting excited over having your child, buying all of the stuff you and your baby would need, preparing a nursery room comfortable for your baby.

Valerie Watts was an expectant mother whose pregnancy was going alright, she regularly went for check-ups and her son, Noah, was developing and getting nourishment just fine. Everything was going smoothly – until her son reached his final gestation weeks.


“All week, I knew…He wasn’t moving as much, I was very nervous.”  Valerie recalled the painful realization. Noah’s umbilical cord was pinched inside the womb, cutting off his oxygen supply.

No words could paint how devastated Valerie was when she gave birth to a stillborn son. She was not able to hear her son’s cry, nor cradle him to sleep. All of the aspirations and good future she wished for him crumbled.

After some time, Valerie decided to part ways with the crib she bought for her Noah. Keeping it would only serve as a painful reminder of her loss, and so she decided to set-up a garage sale, selling all of the stuff meant for her son.

An old man, Gerald Kumpula, and his wife saw her garage sale. Gerald is a skilled woodworker and was interested to the crib. He approached Valerie and inquired about the crib. 

The thoughtful old man has a wood workshop on his garage on the outskirts of Cokato. In fact, one of his specialization is transforming head-boards and foot-boards into benches.

“She was kind of hesitant,” Gerald reflected on an interview. “I knew that maybe she didn’t want to sell it, but yet, she did.” True enough, Valerie was having second thoughts about selling the crib her son was unable to use.

“When he asked me if I was selling that, that he made benches, I hesitated,” Valerie confirmed Gerald’s observation in an interview.

While the old man and his wife were looking and surveying the items on the garage sale, Gerald’s wife struck a conversation with Valerie.

“His wife was there looking through my garage sale — at some of the baby clothes — and asked how old my son was since I don’t use the crib anymore, and I told her that he had passed in July,” Valerie recalled of the bittersweet conversation she had with Gerald’s wife.

During on their trip back home, the husband and wife had a arrived at a thoughtful decision. They will be returning the crib they had purchased to Valerie, but with a slight touch of modification.

Since Gerald has been tweaking with transforming head-board and foot-board into benches, he thought of doing the same thing with Noah’s crib.

A week after they first met, the husband and wife surprised Valerie with a sweet gift. They converted Noah’s crib into a chair, serving a new purpose in Valerie’s life.

“I started crying instantly,” Valerie shared how tears suddenly gushed out upon seeing what the Gerald did. Now the crib that used to remind her of her painful loss, has now become a bench that could comfort her with the sweet thought of the journey she had bearing her son.

“It’s amazing. There are good people out there, there’s proof in Cokato.” Valerie shared, thankful indeed the world is still full of people with goodness.

Watch the video below and see for yourself why the sweet gesture of a thoughtful elderly gentleman to a devastated mother touched the hearts of millions!

Photos and Video | Fox 9

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