Polar Express golden ticket returned

Local News

TAYLORVILLE, Ill. (WCIA) — An area family got a surprise visit from, not only the police, but a man who says he rode in on the Polar Express.

The family visited Monticello’s train over the weekend, but their son left something behind. So, a man named Hobo Joe returned something once thought gone forever.

For the Mitchell family, they know just how much their 3-year old son, Grant, loves trains. After taking a ride on Monticello’s Polar Express this weekend, they came home to realize they left something behind.

“We thought we put the ticket in the car and we got home, we couldn’t find a ticket. Grant was upset.”

A golden ticket, even stamped with the letter “G.” Mitchell contacted the train company in hopes they could send one in the mail, but instead, they got it personally delivered to them.

“We were contacted by an individual who works the Monticello Train Company and said, ‘There’s a kid in town that lost a ticket.'”

Just hours later, “They said, ‘We think we found the man who took his ticket on the Polar Express,’ and Hobo Joe came out of the back of a cop car.”

Hobo Joe, better known as Bill Crisp, has been volunteering on the Polar Express for more than 25-years. He decided Grant’s golden ticket should be delivered with some holiday cheer.

“He got excited because he knew who the hobo was because of the movie and he was just jumping up-and-down. It was awesome, especially this time, during Christmas.”

Grant not only got his ticket back, but a bell from Santa’s sleigh; a surprise Christmas gift this family will never forget.

“Nice deed done. It will be a memory that we’ll always have.”

Hobo Joe’s act of kindness even got him a free meal after people in town asked why he was dressed up.

The Polar Express made its last stop this past weekend, but it’s hosted every year. Staff encourage families to buy tickets early.

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