A young girl received an unexpected gift on Sunday when her missing knapsack was returned by a good Samaritan who helped her escape the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International airport following an attack by a gunman last Friday.
When Fort Lauderdale resident Wren Newman realized that Gabby Lugo, 11, had accidentally left her book bag in the car, Newman enlisted the local news to help find the family.
"This was a positive side of what a community could do and it just had such a sweet outcome," Newman told ABC News. "It's not a life-altering story, but it's a nice little story in a time in Fort Lauderdale that has been extraordinary difficult."
On the day of the shooting, Gabby and her mother, Nancy Reis, were traveling home after spending the holidays with relatives in South Carolina.
As they were retrieving their luggage from baggage claim, shots were fired, Gabby's father Joe Lugo told ABC News.
"My ex-wife [Reis], she calls me crying and said, 'They're shooting in the terminal,'" Lugo said. "I said, 'Who's shooting? Where's Gabby? She said she was on top of her, covering her. I said, 'Try and find someplace safe and call me.'"
"I felt so helpless," he added. "Once I knew they were safe, my hopes were positive."
Reis and Gabby, along with other travelers, were bused to Port Everglades -- a safe area outside of the airport.
Because there were so few cabs in the area, the two began to walk home.
At 10 p.m., Newman was driving home from a friend's house when she noticed Reis and Gabby alongside the road.
"They were pulling luggage and they looked stunned and exhausted," Newman recalled. "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 Lugo would pick them up.
Later that night, Newman saw Gabby's black backpack in her car. It was filled with Christmas presents from her family. Newman, who did not have Reis' phone number, decided to contact ABC affiliate WPLG in Fort Lauderdale, who was able to track down Gabby and her father.
On Jan. 8, Gabby and Lugo met Newman in the building of her Fort Lauderdale home. The father and daughter presented Newman with pink roses to thank her for her kindness.
"I'm very grateful that my daughter came back to me safe," Lugo said. "[Newman] is a very rare, genunine person and I believe there are a lot of good people out there."
- Fort Lauderdale