At the newspaper we get a lot of calls suggesting different types of stories or ideas people would like us to investigate. I have to admit that some ideas and allegations are far-fetched and even inappropriate. But every once in a while someone will come along with a sincere, touching story that deserves a mention.
On March 16, 2002 at 11:30 p.m. Stella Abbate and Paul Thomas got a knock at the Las Vegas, Nev. door from the Highway Patrol letting them know that his brother, Daniel G. Thomas had been killed in Utah, along Interstate 70 near Salina. His Isuzu vehicle hit black ice and went down a 200 foot ravine. He was on his way back home to New York after spending a few months in Las Vegas following the 9-11 incident.
Before Danny had headed east the family met at the Palms Hotel to say their goodbyes and Danny gave his brother his six-disc CD Player because it didn't fit in his car.
What has followed, now two and half years later is touching Stella and Paul very deeply. They recently received a call from Mary at the Utah Highway Patrol in Salina asking if they were the family members of a Daniel Thomas. Apparently someone from Price named Kayrene and her son had stopped at the side of the road (because her son was car sick) in the same ravine where Danny's SUV went off the road and found something that belonged to him. The Highway Patrol put the person on the line to talk with Stella, so she could hear more. This is what transpired.
"My name is Kayrene and on Sept. 18th my son and I found a black nylon case that was filled with 140 CDs. Two club cards from a casino had the name of Daniel Thomas written on it."
Kayrene went on to explain that she had tried unsuccessfully to locate Danny over the Internet and then decided to check with the Highway Patrol. She asked Stella for their address and said she would send out the case. Stella told her that it was amazing and a miracle that they were intact and that Kayrene went to all the trouble to find them. Stella told her to help herself to any of the CDs because Danny was a very generous person and his music meant a lot to him.
Kayrene told her no; she just wanted to return them to the owner.
"I also told her we would reimburse her for the expense of shipping and she also said that there was no need," explained Stella.
Sure enough, last week Stella and Paul received a box in the mail and inside was the weather beaten nylon case. The metal was oxidated and it was full of dirt and sand.
A note with the case was also enclosed.
"Dear Thomas Family, Here are the CD's I found on I-70. I hope they bring more comfort than sorrow. I wish your family the best and hope you have a good holiday, Sincerely, Kayrene S."
Stella tells me that, "all we have been able to do since we received the CDs is play each one of them. It is truly a miracle that these CDs survived two summers and two winters and that they were found and returned by a good samaritan intact and gifted to us by Danny."
Stella and Paul say they could not have asked for a better Christmas gift than one from one of God's angels.
"We could never express our appreciation and the thoughtfulness of Kayrene and her family for their part in this Christmas miracle.
Danny's appreciation for music spanned from Otis Redding to the Partridge Family. Stella says his music will keep his memory alive in their household always.
Stella says like Ellen DeGeneres says "Sometimes you just have to play a little music and just dance."
I attempted to locate Kaylene several different ways but she has an unlisted phone number and an address that couldn't be verified. In her visits or correspondence with Stella and Paul did she relate her last name.
To them, she's an angel who has made things easier.