AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - Every day, Sweet Bran trucks travel the country, but they carry more than just cargo.
They carry a message, all inspired by a young girl from the Texas Panhandle.
"That all started in Amarillo when she was about 8 years old,” said Lara Jones.
For Macey Foley, the big Sweet Bran trucks always stood out.
“For some reason, every time we were in the car with her, that was the only time we saw them was if she was with us,” said Jones, Foley’s mom. “And she would always point out, 'hey mom, there's a Sweet Bran truck!'"
The sightings continued into Foley's teen years when she moved to Earth.
“When she moved here, we had just moved her stuff into my house and a Sweet Bran truck went by and she said, 'Mom, I think they’re following me,’” recalled Jones.
They continued to "follow" her until one morning, two years ago.
"At 3 o'clock in the morning on December 5th of 2016, she woke up and told me she needed her inhaler, so I got it for her and she said, 'it's not working.' So I started a breathing treatment, called 911, and before the ambulance got there, she collapsed,” said Jones.
Within just a few hours, 16-year-old Foley was gone. Months after her death, Foley's mom reached out to Sweet Bran's parent company, Cargill, hoping for a t-shirt to remember her daughter by. Instead, she got so much more.
"I was in the concession stand, about to work a football game and the superintendent came by and said, ‘Lara, I need you in the press box about 10 minutes before the game starts,’” said Jones.
A couple of representatives from Sweet Bran were waiting in the box when the marching band that Foley was once a part of stood below and removed their jackets to reveal Sweet Bran shirts printed with 'Hi Macey' on all of them. But that was just the beginning.
“He said, ‘Now, do you see that Sweet Bran truck over there?’ I was like, 'Okay, yeah,’” said Jones. “They pulled this huge sticker off of it and it said ‘Hi Macey’ on the side of the truck. I was speechless.”
Two simple words. A greeting meant for the girl from Texas, now serving as a greeting to her family and friends.
Two years later, her spirit lives on, from the football field to the band room, remembered by her friends.
"Music was a huge part of her life so she brought music into everybody else's life,” said Berkli Furr. “She was really big for cadences,” said Julia Carrasco. “It was always a supporting moment because it was for her.”
And despite the heartbreak of losing her, they continued to march in her honor. "Just everything 'do it for Macey' because she would've wanted us to stay marching, which we did, and it was all because we did it for her,” said Laura Ortiz. “The past two years, I have thought a lot about Macey. I always have her on my mind and I always see her in the school. I always think about her and it’s really hard,” said Hannah Sanchez. Foley's love of music inspired Sweet Bran to grant one more gift to her loved ones.
"$10,000 they donated to our band. So we actually used the money to buy new pants, which are called bibbers, because we were sewing our kids into their pants before contests,” said Jones. “It was something that the band desperately needed and we’re so thankful for them, doing that for us.”
Extraordinary generosity from a company for a girl they never met.
“I could not believe that a company would do that and just hearing her story and how this little girl from Earth made an impact on their company and so many people, it was just amazing. There were no words,” said Jones.
But as Sweet Bran trucks carry their cargo around the country, they also carry those two words.
“On Facebook I constantly have people taking pictures of the trucks and sending them to me,” said Jones, “That say, ‘I saw a Sweet Bran truck today and I said hi to Macey.’ And it’s just amazing that people that are not from around here know the story.”
“Every single time you see it, you just have to say, ‘Hi Macey.’ And of course, on our bibbers, we have ‘Hi Macey’ on it,” said Kamryn Alvarez.
Two words that are more than just print on the side of a semi.
“She existed. She was here,” said Jones. “It keeps her alive. It keeps her spirit alive and that’s what I love.” When you see one of those big trucks go by, remember her and say, ‘hi.’