FORT MILL, S.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) — Some call it a chance — those unexplainable moments.
When employees at Sunbelt Rentals headquarters happened to be cleaning out a closet, one of those moments came about in the form of a black and white four-by-six-inch photo.
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“It became a mystery, and we were just like, ‘Alright, we’ve got to figure this out,’” said Chris Dyches, the social media manager for Sunbelt.
The mysterious photo had browned edges and, on the bottom right, a handwritten message, “With love, your brother, Joe.”
“Having the handwritten note on it, just knowing that was clearly from a ceremony where they were getting some awards,” Dyches said.
Dyches said he knew the photo had to mean something to someone. So, he took to the LinkedIn social media website to help solve the mystery.
“These are the types of photos that when you have them — they’re special,” Dyches said.
It traveled the social media landscape for 45 minutes before retired Sunbelt employee Kathy Gorton saw it.
“It’s just such a miracle that people I don’t know found that photo, posted it, and looked for me,” Gorton said.
The photo is of her dad Joe Wateski, a World War II veteran. Wateski flew 62 combat missions and wondered his whole life why he survived when others did not.
“He joined the military lying as most of the boys did, saying he was 20, but he was only 19, but the family needed money at the time,” the woman said. “We don’t often find out why things happen.”
“We had this great scrapbook, but in 1972 there was a flood named ‘Agnes’ which took our home,” she remembered.
Kathy only has a few photos of her dad.
“It’s invaluable. To have the original is incredible,” said Kathy.
If you ask her, the photo with his love imprinted on it didn’t find her by chance.