This is a story about a son, a mother and the journey of a pickup truck that made a small stop on a broadcast television show.
Jonathan Miller of Uniontown was born in the winter of 1999 and was taken home from the hospital in a 1996 Ford F-150 his father, Curt, used as a work truck at his electrical contracting business.
Although the truck was Jonathan’s first ride, it was also a part of his childhood as he hung out at his father’s business. It also held memories of his grandfather, who taught him to drive the standard shift at a Greene County farm.
“He wanted that truck when he would get his driver’s license,” said Lisa Miller, Jonathan’s mother. “There’s a lot of sentiment with that truck.”
However, a short time before Jonathan got his license in early 2016, the truck drifted out of a garage at his father’s business, hit the loading dock and flipped on its side.
“My son was devastated,” Lisa said.
The insurance company totaled the vehicle, and sent it to auction where Lisa intended to buy it back. Things didn’t quite work out. Someone else beat her to it.
Undeterred, she reached the auction company and asked them to have the buyer call her. She got a flat “no.”
“So I started making phone calls all around,” Lisa said, knowing there was a race against time as the truck, which sustained significant side damage, would be sold for parts by a junkyard and then likely crushed into a cube.
One of the random phone calls put her in touch with someone who listened to what she called her “sob story.” That man made some calls for her and located to the buyer.
She bought the truck back and paid to have it delivered to her brother’s trucking business to surprise Jonathan.
“The look on the kid’s face is worth every penny and every phone call I made,” Lisa said. “You do what you need to do for your kid.”
“To be honest, I was mad at that time because they got rid of it without asking me,” Jonathan said of the truck following the accident. “But mom always comes through.”
Many other family and friends came through for Jonathan, too, helping him fix the truck including Xtreme Autobody in McClellandtown and Personal Touch in Uniontown.
When the project was completed, the truck was brought back to appear much like it did months prior, and Jonathan started driving it regularly.
The story of the truck’s journey was finally over ... that is until “The Bachelor” came to town.
Jonathan was eating dinner at The National Pike Restaurant across from Nemacolin sometime in the fall when someone walked in and asked what no vehicle owner wants to hear.
“Someone came in asking who owned the old Ford,” Jonathan said. “I thought someone hit it, and I thought here we go with another problem.”
However, the person was an employee at Nemacolin, and they were looking to lease a pickup to use for the long-running series “The Bachelor” that was filming at the resort.
“I just looked at them like they’re nuts and asked if they were talking about a different truck in the parking lot,” he said.
Less than a week later, Jonathan dropped his truck off for a couple of days.
What the production wanted to do with the truck was kept a secret as they only told Jonathan that it would be used for an entrance and even that wasn’t a guarantee.
“I laughed when I heard the story,” Lisa said. “I couldn’t imagine that truck on the Bachelor--there’s no way.”
Both Jonathan and Lisa were surprised to see the truck being used throughout the duration of the first episode as well as the end credits where the show’s host, Chris Harrison, climbed into it and drove off.
“They really highlighted the truck very well,” Lisa said.
“Seeing my truck come across the screen was astonishing to me,” Jonathan said. “I take great pride in everything I do, especially my work and that old truck is the biggest project I’ve ever taken on. It was truly breathtaking.”
Other people also took notice...about a couple hundred people to be more accurate.
“Everybody who knows me knows about that truck,” he said.