It may have taken 12 years, but karma finally came back around for the Bryant family.
Kandi Bryant, owner of Dunedin Brewery, bought three raffle tickets in hopes of winning a $1,600 set of McCallum bagpipes from Lothian Kilt Rentals and Bagpipe Supplies for a City of Dunedin Pipe Band fundraiser in September.
Her son Michael Bryant, 29, had lost his new $850 set in April 2000, when he was just 16. He drove off after punk band practice with them still sitting on the back of his van.
In what was believed to be a serendipitous turn of events, a St. Petersburg Times reporter connected them with a truck driver from Illinois who was placing a "found" ad in Times classifieds for their missing set, according to an April 13, 2000 story in the St. Petersburg Times.
The trucker told the Bryants he was moving someone to the area when he picked it up on the side of the road.
The story was supposed to end happily. He promised to send them back to the Bryants, and the Bryants even provided him a shipping number so the instrument could be returned at no cost to him.
But, "the guy never sent them," Kandi Bryant explained.
It wasn't long after that, she said, that her son lost interest in the instrument completely, although he maintained his friendship with his piping buddies, many of whom are in the City of Dunedin Pipe Band.
Her son Michael Bryant, now the general manager at Dunedin Brewery, bought one ticket for the fundraiser raffle.
Kandi Bryant said she kept checking her cell phone on the evening of Sept. 22, when the raffle drawing was scheduled at Flanagan's Irish Pub.
And then, she received a text message from one of her son's friends that said, "You won."
Before she could even reply, Trina Cooney, owner of Flanagan's, called to give her the official word.
Kandi Bryant called her son to give him the sad news: "You didn't win."
"But I did!" she told him. "He was really excited."
Naturally, the bagpipes are going to her son Michael, "so he can have his pipes again," she said.