While flying home from a UK tour, members of the San Francisco Bay-area band, Culture Abuse, were stopped in Chicago for a layover at O’Hare International Airport. At the time the band's lead guitarist, John Jr., was recovering from a sprained ankle and using a wheel chair, so when the band caught a shuttle for their connecting flight, John Jr.’s Gibson SG-X guitar was inadvertently left behind in the shuffle.
As a result, the guitar was donated to a Goodwill store in the metropolitan Chicago area and later sent to the Goodwill Industries of Southeastern Wisconsin and Metropolitan Chicago's Ecommerce facility in Racine, WI, to be listed for sale on Shopgoodwill.com. Valuable donations, like John Jr's Gibson guitar, are often sold via Shopgoodwill.com to help generate revenue for Goodwill’s mission.
Upon returning home to San Francisco, members of Culture Abuse reached out to their friends and fans through social media asking for help to locate the guitar. One fan who saw the social media post then noticed a listing on Shopgoodwill.com and notified Goodwill about John Jr's story. Upon hearing the story, Sarah Challender, manager of Goodwill's Ecommerce department, immediately put her team in action.
“My team and I pulled up some YouTube videos of the band, Culture Abuse, and sure enough, there was John Jr. jamming away on the same Gibson SG-X!," said Challender. "There was even a Culture Abuse sticker on the back (of the guitar)! We knew at that moment we had to help reunite John and his guitar.”
Challender worked with John Jr. and the band's record label manager from Epitaph Records to determine if the guitar belonged to John Jr. Once confirmed, the guitar was shipped back to him free of charge.
“It was the least we could do," added Challender. "I could hear the relief in John’s voice when I called him and he even offered to pay the shipping to get it home to San Francisco, but I knew how important it was to him, and my team and I were all on board with shipping it out fully-insured and signature required. I wanted to make sure it made it back to him safely.”
John Jr. and the band are still baffled on exactly how the guitar ended up at Goodwill, but either way, he's thrilled to have it back.
“My team are all fans of the band now, and so am I," Challender added. "They have a great sound, and it’s awesome we were able to help reunite John with the guitar he’s had for so many years.”
The story of John Jr. and his guitar truly shows how kind gestures (great or small) can impact the lives of others.
Members of Goodwill Industries of Southeastern Wisconsin and Metropolitan Chicago's Ecommerce team, who helped locate John Jr.'s guitar.