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Arizona woman finds heartwarming note tucked inside $2 book at Goodwill — now, she's searching for its owner

The search is on for the intended recipient — or the author — of a heartfelt note that was found inside a book at an Arizona Goodwill, which has become a message of hope for an entire community.

“Believe, Trent — Believe,” the note said, with certain words underlined for emphasis. 

“You are loved and respected! So let’s get going. The ride may be bumpy but we will get there. When you believe in you as much as I do, you will be there. — Dad.”

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Rose Farmer, 46, of Gilbert, Arizona, was recently shopping in her local Goodwill with her mom and seven-year-old daughter. She was searching the aisles for a costume. 

“I went there on a Sunday, begrudgingly, and we found something for [my daughter] to wear,” Farmer told Fox News Digital. 

goodwill book and note

At an Arizona Goodwill, a woman found a sweet note tucked inside a copy of the book “The Heart is a Lonely Hunter” by Carson McCullers. (Rose Farmer)

“Then I just wanted to go look at the books real quick. There was actually an older lady next to me, looking at the books, too.”

The woman, also a shopper, picked up a copy of “The Heart is a Lonely Hunter” by Carson McCullers, which was first published in 1940. 

A handwritten note then tumbled out and onto the floor, according to Farmer.

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The note was written on a piece of paper from the Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa in California — more than 700 miles away from the Goodwill shop.

rose farmer with book

Rose Farmer of Gilbert, Arizona, was shopping at her nearby Goodwill when she found this $2.29 book on a shelf — and the note that was tucked into it. (Rose Farmer)

“[I] thought, ‘Wow, what an amazing, special note,’” Farmer said. “It’s about overcoming any obstacle by believing in yourself — and also having someone believe in you.” 

She went on, “Especially since it was his dad. Who knows what Trent was going through at the point that his dad wrote him this note, you know? It really spoke to me at the moment.”

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Farmer asked the fellow shopper if she could have the book.

“It was 50% off that day, so I think I spent [about] $2 on the book,” Farmer said.

She went home and posted a picture on “Go Gilbert,” a community Facebook page, to see if someone recognized the note, the book or even the handwriting. 

  • facebook 1 Image 1 of 2

    One user commented, "My son’s name is Trent and it’s as if this note was written for him!" (Rose Farmer)

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    Another commented, "I’m not Trent but I lost my parents 2 years ago and definitely needed this note from my mom right now." (Rose Farmer)

Farmer said she did not immediately find a connection, but she was touched by the overwhelming response.

“It just received so many likes and comments from people,” Farmer said. “Someone said, ‘I’m not Trent, but this note spoke to me.’ Someone else said, ‘My son’s name is Trent and it’s as if this note was written just for him.’ Everybody just seemed really touched by it.” 

Farmer said one person commented, “Oh man, I really wish I had a dad like Trent’s.”

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“That crushed me a little bit because I thought, Wow, everybody should have somebody in their life who they can turn to,” Farmer said. 

“I don’t think he realized how many lives he touched with that note, even though it wasn’t meant for me to share it with everybody.”

— Rose Farmer of Arizona

The post garnered over 1,000 likes, which Farmer said has motivated her to keep searching. 

“People really want me to find Trent or Trent’s dad,” Farmer said.

Trying to follow every possible clue, Farmer said she reached out to the hotel that’s named on the stationery, hoping the hotel would post the note on its Facebook page and the guest who wrote it would see it. 

She has not heard back, she said, and hasn’t seen any mention via the hotel’s social media.

  • facebook 3 Image 1 of 2

    A person on Facebook, in response to the note, said, "This is absolutely the most beautiful thing I’ve read in a very long time." (Rose Farmer)

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    One person shared, "Aww! I hope Trent gets found!" (Rose Farmer)

“The note was pretty new, so I thought maybe it was somebody who went there and they just took the paper home,” she said. 

“But, you just never know. It could have been somebody from across the country.”

That got Farmer thinking even more. 

She wondered: Did Trent ever see the note? Did he read the note? 

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It was tucked into the pages of the book — so it is possible the son never found out how much his dad believed in him, Farmer suggested.

  • facebook 5 Image 1 of 2

    "I feel like maybe all of us who are moved by this note are indeed a ‘Trent,’" a Facebook user commented. (Rose Farmer)

  • facebook 3 Image 2 of 2

    "What a beautiful note of encouragement he wrote to his son." (Rose Farmer)

“Did he not know the note was in there?” Farmer said. “Maybe he never got to read that message.”

“The Heart is a Lonely Hunter” is the story of John Singer, a deaf man living in a small town in Georgia.

When he loses his only deaf companion, Singer is left isolated and alone.

Last month, we spoke with the late Cicely Tyson about her life and career as she teased her new memoir, Just as I Am. You can read the interview here: https://t.co/up4zMGbfjx 

See her in THE HEART IS A LONELY HUNTER (’68) tonight at 11:45pm ET. pic.twitter.com/1NrTCXTOlc

— TCM (@tcm) February 10, 2021

“It’s a book about overcoming hopelessness,” Farmer said, adding that she never read the book written by Carson McCullers. 

“It follows this gentleman who’s deaf and he befriends some people in a southern town. The book is about being able to overcome despair.”

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In 1968, a movie adaptation of the book was released. The film starred Alan Arkin and Cicely Tyson.

  • facebook 2 Image 1 of 2

    "This note was for Trent but I think so many of us needed to see it," one Facebook commenter wrote. "Thank you, Trent’s Dad, for these words. You just helped a lot of people reading them!" (Rose Farmer)

  • Facebook 1 Image 2 of 2

    Another person noted, "Interested that the letterhead is from a hotel in California and the book made its way to [Arizona]." (Rose Farmer)

Farmer said she feels there’s a reason that she’s the one who found the note — and that it would mean a great deal to her if she could locate the owner.

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“I don’t think he realized how many lives he touched with that note, even though it wasn’t meant for me to share it with everybody,” Farmer said.

goodwill letter split

After sharing the note on Facebook, Rose Farmer saw how much other people related to it.  (Rose Farmer)

She went on, “I feel like it would just be a wonderful feeling to know that, ‘Hey, you touched a lot of lives even though you may not have meant to.’”

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