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Picture-Perfect Ending for Lost Camera
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Murray Fleming said he was just doing the right thing, but he has made a Vineland family very happy.

In the process, the Palmerston man, a truck driver for Better Beef Inc. in Guelph, gave them renewed respect for truck drivers in general.

Michele Veenendaal's nine-year-old autistic son, Joel, had to wait eight months to get pictures his parents took of his favourite NASCAR driver, Jeff Gordon, during races in Michigan.

The digital camera the photos were taken on went missing, and the way Joel finally got his pictures is a story in itself.

Last August, Michele and Evert Veenendaal went to Brooklyn, Mich., west of Detroit, to enjoy the NASCAR races. They filled their digital camera with photos of the event. The camera also contained pictures of some earlier social events from last summer.

"We were at the Michigan International Speedway for the races, having a much-needed weekend away from the kids and life in general," Michele Veenendaal explained. "We were enjoying ourselves thoroughly and I was happily snapping pictures with my digital camera.

"At the end of the race, I thought I put the camera in my bag and we left. We soon realized the camera was lost."

With more than 100,000 people in attendance, she thought the camera was lost forever and never expected to see it again.

"Not only did I lose all my pictures for my son (a big Jeff Gordon fan), but there were also pictures of a surprise 50th birthday pig roast for a friend of ours," Veenendaal said. "I was devastated. I resigned myself to the fact that the camera was gone forever."

A month ago, the actions of Murray Fleming, a Good Samaritan on wheels, turned her sadness into a smile.

A family friend, Dave Nelson, who is an independent trucker, called Veenendaal with some "unbelievable" news.

"He owns a rig with 'Jess Brae' on its side, the only one of its kind in Ontario," she said. Jess Brae Inc. is the name of Nelson's family-owned trucking business in Smithville.

Nelson was driving along the Queen Elizabeth Way when he got a call on his citizens-band radio from a man who identified himself as Murray.

The CBer was 55-year-old Murray Fleming.

He told Nelson he thought he had his digital camera. Nelson was confused, but then Fleming told him his tale.

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