Single mother of five uses text messages to convince thief to return stolen van

INDEPENDENCE, Mo. (ABC News/CNN) - Single mother of five Megan Bratten was shocked to find her van stolen from the parking lot of a K-Mart this week, but there was a bigger surprise in store for her when the thief decided to return it.

When Bratten remembered that her phone was still in the van that she used to operate her small business, she sent texts to the thief pleading with him to give the vehicle back - which he did.

The thief sent Bratten step-by-step instructions leading her to a location where she found the van parked and unoccupied.

The thief wrote her a note saying quote "I do feel bad, my kids needed a meal on the table so that's what their dad did. I know it's wrong, but it's been so hard since I lost my job."

Bratten did not contact police before recovering her van, saying that what matters in the end is he really did the right thing.