NEW SMYRNA BEACH, Fla. (AP) - It was just another day of shopping for Brittany Gaither at the Coronado Thrift and Boutique Shop in New Smyrna Beach, when "I heard somebody say, 'What's that?' The last thing I expected to find was an urn," says Gaither.
Gaither went to find plants, but when another customer needed help opening the drawer of a dresser, she found much more: a wooden box. It had a Phoenix funeral home label with the name of Robert Roy "Rusty" Fanning and the date of his cremation in 1988.
"Immediately, when we saw it, we knew exactly what it was, and so I said, 'Can you hold this for me? I'm going to take a picture, there seems to be a thing on the bottom of it.'"
Gaither didn't take the box out of the store. Instead, she asked the manager to hold on to it. She decided to track down the family, posting a Facebook status that was shared more than 120 times in 24 hours. Soon she got contact information for Fanning's brother, Jody, who lives in Arizona.
A short time later, she mailed the urn to Fanning, but not before making one stop. She took the urn to the beach.
Fanning says he doesn't have words to express his gratitude. "That was extremely touching for me, because that was one of the things my brother dearly loved -- one of my favorite pictures I have of him, is of him with a seagull when he was younger, so that would have meant a lot to him."
Fanning received the urn, and sadly there were no ashes inside, but he says he appreciates having apart of his brother back.