TV news viewer helps find stolen van belonging to woman with ALS

A van like this that's custom designed for people with disabilities was stolen from a home in Fremont, Calif. in April 2015. (Classic Vans, Hayward)

A California couple got some great news -- all because of a story that ABC11's sister-station KGO did on Wednesday.

Kay Thomas who has ALS, had her van that's custom designed for people with disabilities stolen from their driveway earlier this week. It cost the couple about $68,000.

She and her husband, Phil Thomas, admit they accidentally left the keys inside. Thankfully it was then discovered Wednesday afternoon by an alert ABC7 News viewer living about 2.5 miles away from couple's house.

ABC7 News spoke to the Good Samaritan who found the stolen van in his apartment complex parking lot in Fremont. Todd Sizer said, "I just memorized the brief description on the news and I quickly checked. I have a tendency to know what cars fit right in this neighborhood and that wasn't one of them."

Another Good Samaritan stepped in. Classic Vans of Hayward pitched in and lent the Tomases one of their specialized vans. In fact, several other ABC7 News viewers also called in and offered their vans too.

Phil and Kay Thomas asked the public to help find a van that's specially designed for people with disabilities that was stolen from their Fremont, Calif. home in April 2015.



Phil and Kay are both retired veterans and the van was their only means of transportation.

Phil helps translate for Kay, who has trouble speaking. Through him, she says, "I try to get out of the house as often as I can. Go shopping, go banking, do the things anybody would normally do. But without the van, I don't have an alternative mode of transportation."

Kay has been living with ALS for 13 years. It's also known as Lou Gehrig's disease. It attacks nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord, causing patients to lose their ability to move, speak, swallow, and eventually breathe. There is no cure.

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