Almost as difficult as the hunt for the perfect guy is the hunt for the perfect wedding dress. So when bride-to-be Kelly Cays’s gown was stolen from her car one evening, she was crushed — until a total stranger replaced it.
“I was so happy when I found my dress because it looked like the one my grandmother wore at her own wedding,” Cays, 22, tells Yahoo Shine.
Her grandmother recently passed away, but before she did, she accompanied Cays when she went wedding dress shopping, so the $1,800 strapless beaded lace gown has even greater sentimental meaning.
One evening in March, Cays, who works as a co-manager of a shoe store in Colorado Springs, Colorado, picked up her dress from the bridal shop, went grocery shopping, and came home around 9pm.
She parked her Jeep inside her apartment complex and debated carrying the dress upstairs, but because she was bringing it to her mother’s house the following day and didn't want her fiancé to see it, she left it in the car.
You can probably guess what happened next. When Cays came downstairs the next day, her car was gone. “At first, I was just confused,” she says. “I thought there had to be an explanation, so I called my fiancé and asked if he had taken my car to work.
He hadn’t.” Cays flew into a panic and called the police. “My dress is gone!” she told the 911 operator. “They were like, ‘What?’ and I said, “Oh yes, my car was stolen too,’” she recalls.
Cays filled out a police report, but there wasn’t much else she could do. “My family had paid for that dress and I felt awful,” she says.
Danelle’s Bridal Boutique, where Cays had purchased the dress, offered to re-order it, but she didn’t have the money to pay for a new one and the credit card company would reimburse only the last payment made on the dress, which was $800.
She resumed dress shopping for a cheaper version, but her heart just wasn’t in it.
A few days later, her car was discovered, damaged and abandoned, in a nearby alley — but the dress was nowhere to be found. Cays spoke to a local newspaper in the hopes of alerting pawnshops in the area. She ended up getting even more than that.
As a result of the interview, Cays received about a dozen dress donation offers from all kinds of people, including one from a woman who had ended her own engagement and one whose wedding was scheduled after Cays's June 15 nuptials and was willing to let her wear it first. “I was amazed that so many people wanted to help, but I’m five-one and no one was my size,” she says.
In late March, Cays received a call from Danelle’s Bridal Boutique telling her that a stranger had walked into the store and paid to replace Cays's original dress with the exact same one.
"She said she wanted to pay it forward — anonymously — and wanted Kelly to have the wedding of her dreams," Sarah Steinmeier, who works as a bridal consultant at the shop, tells Yahoo Shine.
"When we called Kelly, she started crying and we did too." Says Cays, “I wish I knew who she was so I could thank her.”
Cays’s new dress will arrive by the end of April, but she won’t be picking it up. “My mom says she's hanging on to it this time," she says. "That's probably a good thing."
Read more at Yahoo Shine.