As soon as she bought the purse, which she knew was used, she felt something heavy roll around inside it. She went through the purse’s compartments and did not find anything out of the ordinary. Suddenly, she found a hole in the lining of the bag, a hole that should not have been there to say the least. She put her hand through the hole to see if whatever was weighing the bag was in there, and there it was. She reached her hand inside and felt something unusual, something rectangular in shape.
She did not know exactly what her hand was wrapped around, but she did know that it surely was not meant to be in the lining of this purse and that she had found something very odd. Going to goodwill means you find things at very affordable prices that you may otherwise not be able to buy. You also run the risk (or reward) of finding unwanted or unexpected things in the items that you buy; they are used after all. This is exactly what happened to her, she had no idea just what she had come across and how important it is, no one could have prepared her for what she had unknowingly purchased when she got the purse earlier that day.
Sarah Thomas of Oregon loves going to Goodwill and thrift shops to find unique items that she would otherwise not find. She likes going through the shelves of the stores and finding old or vintage treasures that others would be interested in buying. She was so good at what she did and she loved it so much that she launched her own online clothing resale business.
In the years Sarah had spent rummaging through thrift stores, she thought she had seen it all but nothing could have prepared her for the find she was about to make…
Along with her business, Sarah started a Facebook page she titled Sarah’s Southern Oregon 2nd Hand Deals. She wanted to get her business out there for people to see and use. Sarah’s business is a huge success, but some days are still better than others and the early days were tough.
She would go to Goodwill and other thrift shops to find designer finds like shoes, dresses, and handbags at bargain prices and then resell them to those who were looking for just such items. Sarah would go to these shops several time a week and spend her own money before she made any.
Sarah’s business page made a huge difference for her business as it allowed her to promote it to people she would not otherwise have been able to show. Those who are interested in her store can buy online as well as reach out to Sarah if they are looking for something in particular.
What Sarah does is unusual in that she has a knack for finding what other people need and want in thrift stores, which takes time and effort which most people do not have.
As happens with used items, Sarah would purchase something and sometimes discover that there was a rip or imperfection about the item after she had bought it, meaning she would need to repair it before she could resell it. There were always items that carried more than meets the eye.
One day, Sarah spotted a designer diaper bag for a mere $3 and knew she needed to get her hands on it. A bag like that would normally cost hundreds of dollars so getting it for that kind of price was unbelievable. Little did she know what else it carried.
As soon as Sarah spotted the bag she ran to grab it so no one else would even think of it. She recognized the label and knew that it was vintage as well as designer, making it worth $200 plus easily. A rare find like this was just what she was always searching for.
What Sarah did not anticipate is that in her rush to buy the bag, she did not think about why it was a little heavy or find anything strange about it. It was not until she got home and took it out that she started realizing something was off…
Goodwill stores are located across the country. They are the perfect place to find items for low prices when you are on a budget, but they are also the greatest spots to find unique items that you would otherwise never come across on a daily basis.
Goodwill is not just clothes and purses, but also home goods and furniture items that would be unaffordable if they were being sold online or elsewhere. People donate their clothes and items to Goodwill, hence the name and the prices.
Sarah stated, “I was cleaning it and just noticed something heavy shaking around in there.” She went through every compartment of the bag but was confused when her hand came up empty from each section. It was then that she started thinking about the previous owner of the bag and what they had thought to put in there. She then started thinking about why they had decided to get rid of the bag considering its worth.
The thoughts were running wild in her mind and she was going into a deeper and deeper place with what could be the source of the weight in the bag.
It was almost meant to be that Sarah would be the one to buy this diaper bag and find such a mysterious item inside it. It was Sarah’s job to go around and find unique items for her customers and she was really good at it too.
Sarah’s business was booming and was turning a profit. She would send her days hunting for good deals and products, and then sell them online to those who are interested. She had no idea where this diaper bag was going to lead her.
Sarah first thought that maybe she should just return the bag, it was a used diaper bag at the end of the day. However, she decided against it as her curiosity got the better of her. Whether a good or bad call, she decided to keep it and get to the bottom of this mystery.
After going through the bag again and once again coming up empty, she went through the lining of the bag and it was then and there that she found a hole in it. She was about to unfold a 7-year mystery and had no idea.
In an effort to try and keep the bag intact, Sarah decided to peek into the hole rather than create an even larger opening. As soon as she looked into the hole she saw a glint of silver. It was then that her heart started racing and thoughts of whether she had found treasure started creeping into her mind.
There was now only one way for Sarah to really see what was in the lining, so she decided to throw caution to the wind and create a larger opening, essentially ripping the lining of the bag further.
Sarah put her hand through the lining and found something hard and metallic to the touch. At first, she was happy she did not feel something slimy or wet, then she decided to pull out the unknown object and finally see what it was.
Sarah ended up pulling out a brand new Sony digital camera. She was surprised and confused but more than anything she was curious as to what this camera was doing there and who it belongs to! There were more questions than answers being made.
Today, we all have cameras on our phones to help document our lives. However, many of us used to have digital cameras that we would bring with us to events to make sure were remembered it all perfectly. Imagine losing such a precious item, and what we mean by it are the photos themselves rather than the camera and what it is worth.
Images and memories are far more valuable than the camera they are on, but getting them both back when you thought you lost them is a luck most do not get.
Trying to make more sense of this, Sarah takes the camera and locates the “on” button. Much to her surprise, the camera turns on! Sarah jumped in surprise that the camera still had juice left in it and was all the more curious as to what the images that were on it.
She did not like the idea of scrolling through someone’s personal life but she could not tear her eyes away as she scrolled through image and another image.
The photos that Sarah was going through showed a woman and a baby boy. The woman was young and so she assumed that this was a mother and her baby. However, with each passing photo she started getting a sinking feeling and the more she went on the more distraught she got. Sarah did not even get to the end of the camera roll when she knew she had to do something.
She did not know how she could pull this off and more than anything she did not know if she could even help, but she knew she had to try.
When Sarah was asked if she hesitated before taking action, Sarah said, “I live by the golden rule. I would hate someone to do that to me.” In that moment Sarah had decided what she was going to do. She went through the photos again to confirm her suspicions and when she knew she had the right idea in mind, she decided to leap into action.
In her heart, Sarah knew that she had to do this and that it was the right move on her end.
Sarah knew she needed to get this camera back to the woman in the photos. Sarah herself was also a mother and knew how important these early memories are. Every little first thing the baby does lives on in a parent’s mind, but photos are a great reminder of those moments.
Days like when you took your baby home from the hospital for the first time, first steps, and first bites of food. All of these memories are priceless and so Sarah knew what she had to do next…
Sarah did the one thing she knew she could do and that was take her cause to social media. Thanks to her business, Sarah had quite a following on Facebook and her business page. So, Sarah uploaded some of the photos from the camera in order to try and track down the woman. She knew it was a long shot but said, “I would hate to lose pictures. It might not be much, but it is to somebody.”
What were the chances that someone would recognize the woman in the photos? She had no idea how long the camera had been missing.
Sarah’s post read: “I’m not sure if this is ok to post here, but I purchased a diaper bag at the Goodwill and found a blue Sony Cybershot camera inside with photos. Does anyone know who this family or people in these pictures are? I want to make sure they get their camera and most definitely their SD card.”
It was sheer happenstance that the owner of the camera was local and just needed the power of social media to make them come together.
It took just one hour for Sarah’s post to be shared hundreds of times over! It is amazing how social media works. It took very little time for someone to recognize the woman in the photos as Katie Connor. However, while she was found, Katie was confused so Sarah sent her a private message to explain how she came about her camera and photos.
Katie was confused and stumped as she had not lost her camera. It was not until Sarah sent her the photos that Katie remembered the ordeal.
Katie was so overwhelmed with emotion at the photos that Sarah had found that she was nearly crying. She never thought she would get those photos back! Sarah and Katie made a decision to meet at the local Target store so that they could meet each other as well as have the camera and photos returned to Katie.
Neither one of the women was prepared for how emotional this meeting was going to be, but it was going to be a lot for them.
The two women met at the Target parking lot and both were just overcome with emotion. Katie walked up to Sarah and immediately exclaimed “Thank you!” with a look on her face that was nothing short of grateful and in awe of the good this woman had done for her.
Katie said, “I think we thought it was long gone!” It was then that Katie told Sarah just how long the camera and photos had been missing for. Sarah was completely floored by what she learned.
The concept of a good samaritan comes from the bible and means that you do something good for someone without expecting anything in return. There are many stories we hear about people helping others cross streets, give advice, and helping out in any way they can.
In a case like Sarah’s, she did not have to return the camera. She could have deleted the images and taken the camera to herself, but she decided to do something totally different and unexpected.
Sarah had found the diaper bag with the camera and photos inside it at Goodwill in 2017. However, Katie explained that the camera in question had actually gone missing all the way back in 2010! Katie’s baby boy was not only not a baby anymore but a full-grown kid! Katie was so happy to get the camera back and see the photos that were on there.
Katie planned on taking the camera home and sitting down with her son and scroll through the photos with him to show him everything.
The fact that these two women got together through Goodwill and social media is a classic tale of modern technology at its best. Without Sarah’s social media account and following of people on there, there would be no way for these two women to connect.
Here we see Katie walking up to Sarah and meeting her for the first time since speaking on the phone and on writing messages to one another via Facebook Messenger. This was going to be one emotional reunion.
Katie never thought in a million years that she would see that camera or photos again. Now that she had her memories back thanks to Sarah, she could not praise her enough. She called her the greatest good samaritan who brought precious memories back to her and her family.
Sarah said, “I didn’t think of it as a big deal. I would think that anyone else would do it, but I guess maybe nowadays that isn’t the case.” Not all heroes wear capes is right!
Katie and her baby boy, as you can see here, were snapped in 2010 with her camera. This was just one of the many photos that were on the camera roll on the camera that Katie thought she had lost many years ago. It was in the diaper bag you see to the right here that concealed the camera for so long.
Seven years later, Sarah was the hero of the story and reunited this mom and son with their special memories.
Here we see Katie and her son today, happy as can be with their camera and photos returned to them. Katie was beyond words when she showed her son photos of him and her when he was a baby. He obviously did not remember the days they were taken but it does not mean he would not appreciate it later on in life.
Sarah gifted this family something that they did not even know they were missing and that kind of present is priceless.
Good things happen all that time, take this post from the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office: “On Wednesday, 16-year-old Rhami Zeini was driving home from school when he saw a purse in the roadway near Turnpike and Cathedral Oaks. When the Laguna Blanca High School junior looked inside the purse he saw a large amount of cash…
… He tried to find contact information with a phone number for the owner but could not. He got a hold of his parents and they drove to the Sheriff’s Office and returned the purse with $10,000 dollars inside!”
Jill James found a huge amount of money on the road she was driving on. She initially thought it was paper but upon closer look she said, “As I got closer to what I thought was trash on the road, turned out to be dollar bills in $100s, $50s, $20s, $10s, $5s and $1s,” James explained. “And then I also found money orders.”
Jill scooped up the bills and drove it home to count it – it ended up being $16,000! Jill drove it to the local police station where they found that the money belonged to a man who does cash transactions for his business.