Karen really needed to see her family that day, and a stroll through one of her favorite spots in the city was really working wonders on her emotional problems. So much so, she wanted a quick snap with her daughter and son-in-law to remember the occasion.
But then she recognized the stranger who took their photo… Could it really be him?
Karen Kingsbury was missing her dad. He’d been gone a year so by now she knew that the only thing to do when she was feeling like this was to reach out to her family for support.
Her daughter Kelsey understood this, so as soon as she got the call from her mom, she suggested a walk at one of her favorite spots in New York. But the family couldn’t have known then that they would bump into someone that would bring all those feelings rushing back for Karen.
Knowing her mom needed her, Kelsey and her husband Kyle dropped what they were doing that Saturday morning right away and headed straight to Karen’s New York home.
The trio jumped in a cab and went to High Line in Manhattan, an elevated nature walkway above the hustle and bustle of the city. But despite the quiet time with her family, Karen had the same thought playing over and over again in her mind.
Whenever Karen was thinking of her father, she would often have his favorite song stuck in her head and it made it difficult for her to think about anything else.
Rod Stewart’s ‘Have I Told You Lately?’ was so important to Karen’s dad that she even had it engraved on a flowerpot by his grave. And when she realized her mom was humming it again, Kelsey realized she had to shake things up.
“Let’s take a photo!” Kelsey suggested, knowing her mother would seize any opportunity to add to her collection of family pictures.
Karen’s face warmed at the thought and it seemed that at least for a few minutes, her mind wasn’t burdened with her father’s passing. But there was a problem on the High Line.
These days, it isn’t so easy to get a stranger to take your picture. With the prevalence of selfie sticks, people tend to take their own photos.
New York, however, is a different beast altogether and trying to get help from a stranger was even more unrealistic. But just as they were about to give up and take a standard selfie like everyone else, a kind man in sunglasses stepped in.
The man spotted the family struggling to find someone to take a family picture, so he quickly offered his services.
Karen, Kelsey and Kyle put their arms around each other and the stranger took a few snaps to make sure they had one they’d be happy with. But as he was walking away, Kelsey thought she recognized him.
“The man took the picture, looked at it and said, ‘Wow, that’s lovely,’” Karen explained. But she could tell Kelsey was fixated on the stranger.
“Mom, do you know who that is?” said Kelsey. Karen looked at the mysterious man as he turned to walk away. He looked so much like him, but it couldn’t be… could it?
Kelsey couldn’t contain her curiosity any longer. She called after the stranger, who promptly turned around and took off his sunglasses.
Karen stood there slack-jawed. Now it was clear to her who he was, she couldn’t find the words. Kelsey asked him outright who he was, but she was not ready for his response.
“Are you Rod Stewart?” Kelsey asked incredulously, struggling to believe that the man who sang the song her mom couldn’t get out of her head was the very man who appeared out of nowhere to help with a photo designed to take her mind off it.
“‘Yes, yes I am.’” the rock star responded cooly. The family were stunned. And Karen was not about to let Rod Stewart walk away so easily.
Karen explained to Rod everything she had been going through that day and how special that song was to her and the family.
The ‘Stay With Me’ singer listened to Karen’s story and started to well up. “You’ve made my day,” the star explained, before wishing the family well and continuing his walk. But that wasn’t the last time they would hear from Rod.
“We seemed to always hear the song at times when Dad would’ve been so proud of us, wishing he were there,” Karen explained, still reeling over Rod Stewart himself turning up right at that moment.
“And I don’t doubt for a second that Dad had something to do with it,” she added. Perhaps she was onto something, because the odds he would enter their lives again were astronomical.
Karen shared her lucky celebrity encounter on social media and before she knew it, she was approached by a producer from the ‘Today’ show to tell her story to a wider audience.
After recounting her tale, Karen was told that they had a special surprise for her. And that’s when the story took an even more surprising turn.
To her great surprise, Rod Stewart had recorded a special message for Karen. “It must’ve been divine intervention that brought us together that afternoon, and I’m glad it did,” said the rocker.
But even more surprisingly, Rod didn’t want to leave it at that. In front of a studio audience – and the whole of the United States – Rod revealed that he wanted to see Karen again.
Rod offered Karen and her family tickets to see one of his shows on tour, which was already incredibly generous.
“And I’ll dedicate a song to your late father, ‘Have I Told You Lately,’” Stewart added, which Karen simply couldn’t believe. She couldn’t have imagined a more perfect pick-me-up after what started out as a very sad day.