Every family has some special item that’s been lost, that they’d give anything to have back. Maybe it’s a photograph, or a memento.
But for the Patinella family, it was an insurance commercial.
Who knew an insurance commercial could be so emotional!
In 1971, Guisto Patinella appeared in a TV spot for Allstate Insurance. He wasn’t an actor—rather he played himself, talking about his experience with the company. But that was years before DVR and the internet, so when the spot went off the air, it was gone for good.
Guisto’s two children, Gina and David, had never seen their dad’s moment of fame, but a proud Guisto had spoken of it often enough that the spot had gained an air of mystery.
“It’s family lore. It’s the legend of Dad’s commercial,” Gina said.
Then Guisto passed away.
The legend of the lost commercial became a sad one when Guisto died, and his children were left with no audio or video recordings of their father, let alone the commercial. They were also left with few family members after his passing.
“Dad sometimes would say, if we would have a fight, ‘Someday, you two might be all each other has,'” Gina told TODAY. “I was 20 when we lost him, and then we had each other.”
But recently, with David getting married, Gina had a great idea for a surprise wedding gift: to track down the commercial, allowing them to finally see the legendary TV spot—and in a sense, bring their father back just in time for the wedding.
So Gina wrote to Allstate, explaining the situation and asking if there was any chance they still had a copy of the ad. According to TODAY, an Allstate agent had to go through all the film reels from that year, since they were never digitalized. And, amazingly, they found it!
After almost 50 years, the recording was still intact.
The company not only arranged for Gina to finally see her father’s spot, but was there to record her heartwarming reaction.
She became emotional seeing the footage of her father, but she also took great joy and humor in it, joking that her father’s running style looks just like her brother’s.
What makes it even more special is that, because of the lack of video footage of him, this was the first time she had heard his voice since his death 20 years.
“I don’t remember him sounding like that at all!” she laughed.
“It’s home. You guys brought me home again.”
Then it was time to show her brother.
Allstate helped Gina arrange a screening at David’s wedding rehearsal. As an emotional David and his soon-to-be-wife watched on with Gina, Guisto was with his children once again.
“We always talked about how we wish he could be there for our wedding,” David said. “It’s the best present ever.”
It’s an inspiring story of lost-and-found. It may have taken decades for the two siblings to see their dad’s commercial, but the wait made it so much more meaningful.
You can see the original commercial that inspired it all below: