He couldn’t believe it.
Jed Mottley couldn’t afford to pick up his varsity letterman jacket when he ordered it in high school 28 years ago – but earlier this month, his brother scored a special thrift store find.
Jed played varsity football at Chaparral High School in Scottsdale, Arizona in 1993.
When he went to pick up his letterman jacket at the time, his mother told him the family couldn’t afford the $300 price tag, so it was left with the company.
‘I went down to the store that year and picked everything out,’ Jed told CNN. ‘You had to kind of design the jacket yourself … but I never saw the final product.’
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A man who couldn’t afford his high school varsity letterman jacket 28 years ago was finally able to boast his school pride when his brother found the jacket at a thrift store
Jed Mottley was beyond excited to be able to afford his jacket: ‘The price was right, 28 years later’
Josh (left) walked into a thrift store 200 miles from their hometown when he spotted his brother Jed’s (right) high school varsity letterman jacket
Jed designed the jacket but wasn’t able to afford the $300 jacket when it was made
‘I was embarrassed,’ he said. ‘I felt like we grew up with a lot of money around Scottsdale and I came from a broken family. … It was nice because I got to borrow their clothes, ride in their nice cars and hang out at their houses, but you know, (at home) it was just a little bit different.’
He never told his friends he couldn’t his letterman jacket and moved on but: ‘The price was right, 28 years later,’ Jed said.
On November 4, Jed’s older brother Josh was walking through Veterans Village Thrift Store in Pinetop, 200 miles from their high school, when he made a heartwarming and affordable discovery.
‘When he sent me the picture of it, I knew it was mine instantly,’ said Jed said.
‘He calls and says, ‘Jed, was there any other Jeds in Chaparral in 1994?” Jed recalled to the outlet. ‘I said, ‘Nah, just one.’ I looked down. He said, ‘Dude, I just sent you this picture of your jacket.’ I couldn’t believe it.’
The $25 jacket had the name ‘Jed’ stitched under the left pocket, ’94’ stitched under the right pocket, a football, the letters ‘WR’ and the number 1 stitched on the right arm. ‘Chaparral’ was stitched inside a big letter ‘C’ on the top left part of the jacket.
Josh spotted the bright red jacket first thing when he walked into the thrift store and immediately sent a picture to his brother.
Jed doesn’t think anyone has ever worn the jacket based on the condition and the ‘inspected by’ tag that was still in the pocket.
‘If I had this the whole time, it would probably be all beat up and sit in the back of my closet. Now I’m going to wear this thing with pride.’ Jed told Arizona’s Family.
‘That things been sitting somewhere in perfect condition for 28 years,’ said Josh. ‘I just kept looking at it, saying this can’t be real. I can tell you I felt my mom’s presence with us when I met up with him to give it to him.’
The Mottley brothers’ mother, Gerry, passed away in 2012 and they took the discovery of the jacket as a sign from their mother whose birthday recently passed.
‘My mom was one of the most religious people I knew and she always said, ‘I’m going to give you guys a sign from the other side,” Jed said.
Josh texted Jed a picture of the Chaparral High School letterman jacket with the mascot, his football position, number, and name emblazoned on it
The Veterans Village Thrift Store in Pinetop was given a large donation of hundreds of letterman jackets that they will give to their original owners free of charge
The brothers took the discovery of the jacket as sign from their mother Gerry who passed in 2012 and always told them she would send then a sign from beyond the grave
Jed said he thought about the jacket for years but is excited to have found it now: ‘Life’s a trip’
He flew to Pinetop from his home in Los Angeles to pick up the jacket in person and to see his brother for the first time in several years. Jed returned home to LA on Wednesday after visiting his brother for two weeks and wears his jacket every chance he gets.
The jacket was recently donated to the thrift store along with hundreds of others by the man who ran the company that made them.
‘His wife passed and because of Covid he could not keep his shop opened,’ Maggie Heath with Veterans Village said. ‘He drove a trailer of jackets and patches to donate to our Veterans Village Thrift Store. We have sold hundreds before we realized the jackets with names are numbers were not just samples.’
The thrift store is now offering to return the jackets free of charge to anyone who can prove that it was made for them.
Jed said he thought about the jacket over the years but: ‘It’s one of those things that something so painful can turn out so beautiful years later and you got to just ride it out, you never know what’s around the corner, life’s a trip,’ said Jed.