A North Carolina family was reunited with some priceless family photos last month because of a good Samaritan who went out of his way to return a lost memory card.
According to TODAY, Florida resident David Nieland was vacationing at the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina in November when he spotted something small and sparkling on the ground during a hike. When he picked it up, it turned out to be a memory card for a digital camera.
Nieland, who works as a Homeland Security special agent, became interested in finding the owner of the card.
He brought the memory card home with him and was able to view the pictures on his own devices. A unique insignia on a little girl's shirt in the photos allowed Nieland to trace the family to an elementary school in Pickens, S.C. There, a teacher recognized the student in the photo as Mackenzie Fisher, reported the Daily Mail.
The family had lost the memory card more than three years ago.
This is where the good deed gets even more special.
Also on the memory card were precious photos of Fisher's grandmother, who died last year after a long battle with cancer. "She didn’t like to have her picture made, so we don’t have many of her when she got cancer," Ashley Fisher, Mackenzie’s mother, told TODAY.
“It’s an amazing gift because we have very few pictures of her," Mackenzie’s father added.
Although the family had downloaded the photos before the memory card was misplaced, their computer crashed and all the photos were lost.
“Thank you, David," Mackenzie says in the video above. “Without you, we couldn’t have found these pictures, and these do mean a lot to me."
“I feel like she’s here watching over us," she added. “Last year it was hard because it was our first Christmas without her, and this year I felt like she’s here."
The twist? Nieland also knows what it's like to have a precious family heirloom returned by a stranger.
This summer, his grandfather's high school diploma was found in a garbage truck. A good Samaritan then took the time to track down his grandfather, Lester Nieland, according to the Daily Mail.
By chance, the stranger -- a sanitation employee -- was familiar with Lester Nieland's wife, who had taught him history in school. He searched for David's father, Bob, to hand the diploma back to the family.