NBC NATIONAL NEWS — Monica Salazar left her car running in front of a Campbell, California apartment.
The next thing she knew, it was gone.
She went through a roller coaster of emotions: anger, frustration and sadness.
"I was distraught. I was hurt," she recalls. "I was like beating myself up because how stupid could I be you know? But then I'm like how could somebody do that?"
Salazar knew the odds of getting her 2004 Scion back were not great, but, she remembered leaving her cell phone in the car.
With nothing to lose, her sister decided to text Monica's phone.
One of the messages: "Can you please return the stolen car?"
This thief seemed to have a conscience.
He called Monica back and told her where to find her car.
She found it parked outside of a Santa Clara KFC.
"In the middle of this chaos and the confusion, something happened in this man. Whether it was what I said, my sister said, the text, something happened. He didn't have to return it," she says.
The car means the world to Monica.
It's name is "Gloria" after her mom who recently passed away.
She keeps a picture of her mother and sister in the visor and has CDs with her mom's favorite songs on them.
Losing the car would have been devastating.
"He returned it. It's in one piece. And I just hope he's okay wherever he's at," Monica says.