GAINESVILLE, Texas – Police Officer Keith Bartlett received a call for service Christmas afternoon that turned out to be a “wild goose chase.”
When he returned to the station, he discovered the call was purposely pulling him away so some special visitors could arrive with a holiday surprise.
There in the department’s briefing room was country music hall of famer and local resident, Randy Travis, along with his wife Mary, his sons and Bartlett’s own wife and kids, according to NBCDFW.
A few years earlier Bartlett had responded to the Travis family ranch regarding a theft. He apparently left a favorable impression.
As they exchanged hugs, Travis, still recovering from a stroke three years ago, pointed to Bartlett’s son who was holding a surprise that nearly brought tears to the officer’s eyes: a new Gibson acoustic guitar.
The gift had a special meaning to the officer.
On December 12, the Bartlett family home caught fire. While his family made it to safety, most of their possessions were lost. One prized item included his Gibson guitar.
Family members said he is an avid guitar player. He’d play in their local church services and spend many days strumming out songs, reported NBC.
When they pulled the charred debris from the house, his prized guitar was destroyed.
When the Travis family heard his story on the news, they decided to help out, offering some furniture and other items.
Mary said she’d seen the power of music throughout her husband’s career, but she’d mostly seen its healing effects in recent years after Randy’s stroke.
“I just know how important music is and what therapy it is, especially at a time like this,” Mary said.
Mary Travis coordinated delivery for a new guitar that the family presented to Bartlett with a small gleaming audience in attendance Christmas day.
“Surprised isn’t even the word for it,” Bartlett said. “These are amazing people.”
Naturally, Travis signed the guitar for Bartlett and spent some of the holiday with the Gainesville officers, while Keith picked away at his new guitar.