A 11-year-old girl who had just experienced what was probably the most harrowing moment of her life received an unexpected surprise over the weekend, when the stranger who saved her returned the backpack she thought she lost in the Fort Lauderdale airport shooting.
On Friday afternoon, Gabby Lugo and her mother, Nancy Reis, were returning home from a trip to South Carolina when a gunman opened fire at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport as the pair was retrieving their luggage from baggage claim, ABC News reported. Five people were killed in the shooting and several more injured.
The mother and daughter were bused to Port Everglades – a safe area outside the airport – along with other travelers. Since there were so little cabs available, Gabby and her mother began to walk home when Fort Lauderdale resident Wren Newman spotted them around 10 p.m.
‘They were pulling luggage, and they looked stunned and exhausted,” Newman said. “I opened the window and made eye contact and I said, ‘Do you need help?’ and she said, Yes.’”
Newman drove them to a spot where Gabby’s father, Joe Lugo, would pick them up. But, then she noticed that Gabby had left behind her black knapsack, which was filled with Christmas presents.
Newman enlisted the help of local news station WPLG to find the Lugo family after she realized that Gabby Lugo had accidentally left her backpack in the car, ABC News reported. WPLG then helped Newman track down Gabby and her father.
On Sunday, Gabby and Lugo thanked Newman by presenting her with pink roses as they went to her home to pick up the backpack.
“I’m very grateful that my daughter came back to me safe,” Lugo said. “[Newman] is a very rare, genuine person, and I believe there are a lot of good people out there.