Losing something as valuable as a laptop would be an inconvenience for anyone—but for one man, it was what was saved on the laptop that made the loss deeply painful.
Wally Kristof, from Flint, Michigan, realized his backpack had been stolen out of his truck last summer. He knew he could replace his laptop, but there were files on there that he could never get back.
Videos recorded by his wife, Dawn—who recently died of cancer—were on the stolen laptop.
Dawn Krostof had lost her battle with pancreatic cancer ten months earlier, leaving behind not only her husband, but their 4-year-old daughter, Ellie.
Before she passed away, Dawn knew her time was short, but she still had so much to say. She wanted Ellie to hear that she loved her from her own voice.
She recorded hours of video messages for her daughter.
“You’re my superhero,” the dying mother says to Ellie in one of the recorded messages, holding up a photo of her dressed as Wonder Woman.
“I think you are the reason that I was put here … I do. I think I was brought here, so the world could enjoy you.”
It was a beautiful, thoughtful gesture, and after her death it was something that could bring the family joy and comfort.
It devastated Wally to think that it might be gone for good.
Desperate to recover the videos, he put a sign outside his home, imploring the thief to return the laptop and explaining what was lost.
He waited for a response from anyone who might know the whereabouts of the laptop.
“I had 100 percent given up on it,” Wally told WEYI.
“Then I got a strange phone call.”
The stranger calling had the laptop—with the recordings still safely on the drive.
Apparently, they didn’t do it out of the goodness of their heart; they said getting the laptop back would cost Wally $500.
Wally paid the $500, and it was all worth it to get those irreplaceable videos back.
Wally shared the good news with his daughter, and together they watched the videos—hearing a voice they weren’t sure they’d hear again.
“She made the videos for you, and we got them back today,” Wally told Ellie.
“They’re hard to watch,” Wally admitted to WEYI. “But it’s nice to see her and hear her … her voice is something I can’t relate to her in stories.”
Watching those videos after the unlikely recovery, Wally felt it was his wife watching over her family.
“Maybe she had a hand in it,” he said. “Maybe the very least … changing somebody’s heart to want to do it … she definitely had that ability.”