Around 10pm on a chilly Saturday night in February, Miller Hill Subaru salesman, Al Schnabel heard his phone ring. Who’d be calling at this time of night? Upon the screen was a name he hadn’t seen for almost five years. He picked it up.
“Hello, this is Al.”
“Hi, it’s Sarah Priest. You sold me a Subaru awhile back. I just saw my hat in your commercial.”
“My hat, the lady in your commercial is wearing my hat.”
“Are you sure?”
“Yes. I know my hat. It was missing a pom, that hat is missing a pom. I’ve watched it six times now, and I am sure that this is my hat.”
“Well, let me make some calls and see what I can do.”
As crazy as that phone conversation sounds, it was true. The hat worn by the driver in our “Uphill” commercial was indeed the hat. Sarah had lost it at former Duluth Mayor Don Ness’ farewell concert in late 2015 at the DECC. Luckily, Stacie Spaeth discovered it.
A Fateful Discovery
“I clean the curling club and after every season it’s my task to donate the unretrieved lost and found items,” said Stacie. “When I discovered this hat, something about it stopped me. It was a Turtle Fur hat, a really nice hat. Someone was definitely missing it. The idea struck me that maybe, just maybe, if I wore it around town the owner would spot it. I never imagined they’d spot it on television.”
Months later, Stacie took part in a Miller Hill Subaru commercial. “I brought two hats, a black one and the hat. As luck would have it, the production crew chose the purple one.”
A Colorful History
Sarah purchased the now infamous hat during a visit to her brother in Bozeman, Montana. Embroidered with colorful flowers on a field of lavender, it became her signature almost overnight.
“It’s a unique hat, I suppose that’s why I was so attached to it. I’m a colorful person and in that way it really reflects my personality. I wore that hat everywhere, it really became a part of my identity,” said Sarah.
Everywhere she went, from the Ely Winter Carnival to Lake Avenue tents during Grandma’s Marathon, that hat could be found on her head. She loved it; losing it meant something. So when she spotted it on that fateful February night, she took action.
Reunited at Last
After several phone calls, a meeting was arranged. Both ladies made their way to Miller Hill Subaru. Turns out, both are Subaru owners, curlers at the Duluth Curling Club and appreciate the same sense of style. Is this the beginning of a new friendship? Things look promising.
Thanks to Stacie’s, Sarah’s and Miller Hill Subaru’s efforts, Sarah was reunited with her hat.
“I was overjoyed to discover my hat,” said Sarah. “I’m so thankful for everyone at Miller Hill Subaru for taking the time to reunite me with it. It’s a small gesture, but it’s nice to see a company so committed to their customers.”
“It’s a weird, cool story. I’m just happy to have played a part in this hat’s history,” said Stacie. “With Sarah as its owner and a Subaru at her side, I’m sure it has plenty more adventures in its future.”
The commercial that made it happen: