The call from my daughter-in-law Yvonne came early Thursday morning. I knew something was wrong right after she said, “Hello”. “They stole our car from the driveway,” she explained with a tone of total frustration, anger and sadness. I could hear my son Sean in the background talking to the police. His aggravated tone was obvious but measured.

Although I never expressed it, in the back of my mind I had already visualized their car in various stages of disassembly, in a “chop shop” or stripped and burnt, left to smolder in an open field.

The rest of their day was spent talking to their insurance company, police and neighbors. The good news was many of their neighbors have installed surveillance cameras and were able to video suspicious vehicles and activity. The bad news was none of the video captured enough evidence to identify any of the suspects or multiple vehicles the lowlife thieves used to stalk their neighborhood.

Loaner car picked up, police report filed, neighbors notified and a restless Thursday night sleep for my son and his family.

So that was our Thursday.

Friday is here and it’s Campout Against Cancer. Our family always participates in this major fundraiser for the Kern County Cancer Fund.

Please stay with me. This will eventually make sense.

It’s late Friday afternoon. I am at our campsite at the Kaiser Permanente Sports Village waiting for the rest of my family. My cell phone rings. It’s my daughter Nikki.

“Dad you won’t believe it,” Nikki said. I sat in my lawn chair with a great sense of trepidation and braced myself for more bad family news. “We found Sean and Yvonne’s car,” she said with a great sense of excitement and discovery. As Nikki, my son-in-law Carlos and my grandson Carlios were driving to the Campout Against Cancer event, Nikki looked to her right and saw what they thought to be the stolen family car parked in a cul-de-sac. They drove to the vehicle and called Sean to check the license plates.

Unbelievably, it was their car.

And it wasn’t in various states of disassembly or stripped and burnt, smoldering in an open field. It looked like someone went through the console, watched movies on the car DVD player. The lowlife thieves then abandoned the vehicle after they ran down the car battery. There were minor signs of damage to the exterior and interior of the car. Eventually the police came and examined the car. The officer explained how extraordinary lucky they were, took all the information and jump started Sean and Yvonne’s family car for them to drive it away.

Remember the movie “Dances with Wolves” with great character names like “Stands With Fists” and “Kicking Bird?” If Nikki were in the movie, her character name would have been “Finder of Stolen Family Cars.”

Cars reported stolen in Bakersfield are sadly very common. In November of 2017, the Bakersfield Police Department reported 40 vehicles were stolen in our city during one week.

There is a laundry list of to-do’s and not-to-do’s on the Bakersfield Police Departments web site to help prevent your car from being stolen. Sean and Yvonne are definitely very lucky to have their car recovered, in reasonably good condition and with newly installed theft prevention devices.

Campout Against Cancer had a record weekend in raising funds to help local patients on their cancer journey with medical expense. And in an ironic twist of fate and because of the event, the stolen car was found.

I firmly believe their mother Susie, who passed from cancer several years ago, had something to do with all of this. If Nikki had been looking straight or to her left or on her cell phone, she never would have spotted the stolen car.

Instead, she looked to her right and there it was. As I am certain was her mother’s gently presence who invisibly nudged Nikki to look to her right.

Thank you to Nikki, our “Finder of Stolen Family Cars” and to Susie for continually watching over us.

I told you so. I have proof.

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