By Jennifer Van Evra
There’s nothing quite like that pit-of-the-stomach feeling when it hits — the realization that you have left something valuable in a random public place.
It could be a wallet absent-mindedly set on top of a car at a gas station or a phone left on a shop counter, but for Ontario singer-songwriter Danny Michel, it was far worse — his prized 1963 Gibson B-25 acoustic guitar. Michel accidentally left the guitar at a Tesla charging station in Barrie, Ont., while on tour.
“This 1963 GIBSON B-25 (serial number 350614) belonging to Canadian singer Danny Michel was lost on July 17 at 10:00 am in Barrie On. Estimated book value $2500-$3000. Sentimental value = priceless,” read a Facebook plea by the veteran musician, who asked people to share. “No questions asked/reward.” (Michel also made clear he does not own a Tesla.)
PLEASE SHARE / My 1963 GIBSON B-25 (serial#350614) was lost July 17 / 10:00am / Barrie On / Priceless to me 🙁 Reward$$$! pic.twitter.com/Cw0IAPxsKo
While most stories of lost instruments end in heartbreak, Michel’s has an especially sweet finish: the guitar had been found by Bruno Alonzi, the owner of a bakeshop in Innisfil, outside of Barrie.
Alonzi was dropping off his wife at the plaza where the charging station was located and noticed people transferring gear between two cars. When he passed by the same spot, he noticed the cars were gone, but a guitar was left behind.
At first he thought to leave it, but then figured it would be better to pick it up and reunite it with its rightful owner — or, if he couldn’t find the owner, learn how to play guitar. When he opened the beaten-up case, he could see it was a vintage guitar that had been well-loved. The next day, he saw Michel’s post on a local community Facebook page and emailed him right away.
“WE FOUND IT! Incredible!!!!! The power of social media! I have the best fans in the world! Thanks to over 1000 shares Bruno Alonzi saw it online,” enthused Michel on his Facebook page. “I just got off the phone with Bruno who owns Bruno’s Bakery and Cafe in Innisfil. Bruno is my hero! I’m going to meet on Thursday to get my baby back and buy 500 cakes! Cakes for all my friends!!!”
Michel then went on to encourage others to visit the bakery and buy “cakes, breads, pastries and assorted desserts made and baked from scratch by a super kind honest man,” and to thank him online.
Alonzi says that so far, the response has been overwhelming. Dozens of fans have left kind messages on the bakery Facebook page — as well as promises to visit the store. Today, Michel fans and locals are piling into the bakery.
“It’s been blowing up since last night. I’ve been getting messages from around the world — musicians from Germany, Florida, across Canada. [Canadian astronaut] Chris Hadfield sent a message. It’s going crazy,” he says, taking a brief break from the fray as Michel fans and locals stream in.
“Danny sent me a message this morning and said, ‘I hope you’re ready for what’s coming,’ and was laughing about it. They’re definitely coming in,” says Alonzi.
Michel is picking up the guitar at 2 p.m. Thursday, and plans to play a few songs at the bakery. (He jokes that it’s the first gig he’s ever played where he won’t be bringing a guitar.)
He offered Alonzi a reward, but the baker refused. “I said, ‘No I don’t need that. You can play me a tune if you want,'” recounts Alonzi. “We get enough bad news in the day. I wish more people would do some good sometimes.”
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