CHICAGO (NewsNation Now) — A music student has been reunited with his beloved – and valuable – flute after leaving it on a Chicago train.
Donald Rabin says his flute is an extension of him. Worth $22,000, his grandmother left him the money to buy the gold and silver flute when she passed away in 2016.
“When she left that in her will I always brought her with me no matter where I went,” Rabin said.
Rabin was riding a Blue Line train from O’Hare International Airport on Jan. 29 during a layover before his return to the Berklee College of Music in Boston.
Rabin described his harried train ride, explaining to NewsNation affiliate WGN how he may have left his flute behind. “I gotta pack up my stuff because the doors are closing and I grab all my bags and my luggage and go up the stairs to get my Lyft… then I’m like oh my gosh, oh my gosh my flute is gone,” Rabin said.
After he realized what occurred, he said he rode the train for hours in hopes of finding his prized possession. When his search came up empty, he reported the missing instrument to Chicago police and took to Facebook to share what had happened.
Through the power of social media, someone reached out, telling Rabin the flute had turned up at a pawn shop.
“It has definitely been an emotional roller coaster last couple of days,” Rabin said.
The pawn shop owner, Gabe Cocanate, was holding onto the flute, trying to determine if it was as valuable as it looked, when he and his wife saw the story of the missing flute on the news.
Coconate told the Chicago Sun-Times that a homeless man had brought in the flute for a loan.
Police picked up the flute and contacted Rabin, who flew back to Chicago this week, retrieved it and treated officers to a brief concert.
Rabin knew the odds of ever seeing something so valuable ever again. And yet, he said, “For some reason, I knew in my heart and soul it would be found. I knew my grandmother would never leave me.”
“A musician is not the same without their beloved instrument,” Rabin added. “That is going to be attached to me for the rest of my life, never leaving my side.”
The Associated Press and NewsNation affilate WGN contributed to this article.