And now he wants to find the owner to explain what happened.
It’s very rare that we feel any sympathy for car thieves, but this guy is an exception. That’s because they stole someone’s car without even realizing. CBC reports that Kevin Freeman from Manitoba, Canada accidentally stole a Ford Taurus sedan 21 years ago in what was an honest mistake.
Back in 1998, Freeman was 17 years old and worked as a lifeguard and swim instructor. He didn’t have a car at the time because he had apparently hit a cow while driving on the highway about a month earlier, so he asked to borrow a co-worker’s car to run some errands and fetch everyone Slurpees for a hot summer’s day. The car was a light-colored 1990s Ford Taurus, which were extremely common at the time.
He went out and spotted a white Ford Taurus sitting in the parking lot with the windows down and doors unlocked, which he mistakenly thought belonged to his co-worker, Jocelyne McKie. Initially, he struggled to start the car but eventually managed to get it running after putting his seatbelt on.
After making a stop at the police station to pay a parking ticket, the door wouldn’t unlock. "I was really concerned that I had broken this woman's car,” he said. "Like, the first time [I'd] ever driven anyone's car without them there and I broke her car right off the bat." A couple of parking officers offered to help and managed to unlock the door, but the car wouldn’t start for another ten minutes. Fearing he had damaged the key and ignition, he returned the car to his co-worker.
The next day, he returned to work and noticed the Taurus still in the lot right where he had left it the day before. Thinking that he’d broken it so badly that it was undrivable, he apologized to McKie. She said that she didn’t leave her car, but said that "When you were gone yesterday somebody reported a car stolen.” That’s when he realized he had accidentally stolen someone’s car.
"I remember feeling panicked and a bit spooked about that because I was quite the goody-two-shoes ... So you can imagine that I was quite freaked out about this stolen car thing," Freeman recalled. "It was very spooky that you could take a key and you could unlock a car and then drive it, a completely different car." The car was apparently reported stolen by a woman in her 20s at the time. 21 years later, Freeman is hoping to track down the original owner and explain what really happened. "I want to find her now, 21 years later, to tell her she was right all along and that someone temporarily (and accidentally) borrowed her car,” he wrote on social media.