Mom Buys Oddly Heavy Goodwill Bag, Discovers Hole Inside

Mysterious Object

She lifted the bag and moved it to get a closer look when she felt something heavy shift. When she looked inside, she found nothing and decided to handle the bag’s lining. That’s when she decided to look into every compartment but realized something strange.

There was a hole in the bag’s lining, and she reached her fingers inside to find the object. It was mysterious and rectangular, but she recognized it in an instant. But what was it doing there?

Hunting For Bargains

Sarah Thomas lived in Oregon and was constantly hunting for a bargain. She couldn’t resist charity shops or Goodwill and enjoyed sifting through objects in boxes or on dusty shelves. She had her eyes peeled for anything strange or fascinating.

Sarah was so good at spotting vintage treasures that she began an online second-hand business. She had spent so much time hunting for bargains that she believed she had seen it all. That was before she found this.

Her Facebook Page

She started her “Sarah’s Southern Oregon 2nd Hand Deals” page on Facebook. It wasn’t long before her hard work paid off, and she began earning a steady income. She frequented Goodwill more than once during the week to uncover her next big find.

She would find gems on some days, like designer shoes, handbags, and dresses, without spending a fortune. But it wasn’t always that easy.

Profound Histories

Sarah would sometimes find things at Goodwill only to realize later that they were damaged and worn. She couldn’t sell items like that.

She would sometimes find items with a deeper history than she initially thought. Sarah discovered this when she bought a diaper bag for $3. It was something she couldn’t leave behind.  

Unbelievable Luck

She had found a vintage diaper bag that had a designer label! She couldn’t believe her luck when she saw the bag practically looked new. She estimated that the diaper bag could easily have sold for $200 at the retailers.

She didn’t hesitate to take it to the counter to buy it. She was excited to get home so that she could look at it closer, but she had no idea that something strange was waiting for her.

Something Heavy

Sarah had been cleaning it when she felt something heavy shifting around inside. She couldn’t find anything in any of the compartments and worried about what was inside.

Had the previous owner hidden something inside? But why would they get rid of it when they had made so much effort to hide it? Her mind was reeling with worst-case scenarios.

A Little Hole

Sarah couldn’t help thinking the worst and wondered if she would be better off returning the bag. She wouldn’t miss the diaper bag considering it was second-hand, but she was a curious woman. She wanted to know what it was.

She eventually noticed the lining had a small hole and inspected it. She had no idea that she was so close to solving a mystery that was seven years old.

Making It Wider

Her breathing grew ragged when she saw a flash of silver through the small opening. She decided to make the hole big enough to fit her hand through and wondered what she would pull out. Would it be something of value, or was she worrying about nothing?

She was careful as she worked to make the hold bigger. She took a deep breath to prepare herself for what she was about to find.

Something Metal

Goosebumps covered her skin when she felt something hard and cold, and she breathed a sigh of relief when she realized the object was dry. She guessed that it was something metal.

She was careful when she pulled it out. Her eyes widened at the brand-new Sony digital camera she was holding. Who would hide their camera in a diaper bag? She frowned at the object, puzzled.

Switching It On

She was nervous as she switched the camera on and waited for its beep, signaling it was switched on. She hadn’t expected it to have any battery left, but it wasn’t long before the images were being displayed.

Sarah felt unsure about looking through the photos. They were someone else’s life and memories, but she couldn’t look away once she started scrolling through them.

A Sinking Feeling

The photos depicted a baby boy and a young woman. Sarah assumed it was his mother. With each new picture, Sarah’s heart sank more and more.

Photograph after photograph flashed before her eyes, but long before she had reached the end, she knew that something had to be done. But what? And more importantly, how?

Taking Action

When asked if she had any hesitation before acting, Sarah said: “I live by the golden rule. I would hate someone to do that to me.”

Sarah’s mind was made up. Looking through the photographs was enough to make her take action, and she knew in her heart that she had made the right decision.


As a mother herself, Sarah knew that she would have been heartbroken if she had lost her camera with its irreplaceable memories inside.

She imagined having lost all those precious moments: the day she took her baby home from the hospital, her child’s first steps. She had consigned these moments to memory, but the pictures spoke a thousand words. She had to do something to try to find the camera’s owner.

Taking Action

Then, Sarah had an idea. She already had a considerable following on Facebook. Perhaps if she shared the pictures online, someone would recognize them. It was a long shot — but worth a try!

“I would hate to lose pictures,” Sara recalled. “It might not be much, but it is to somebody.” But would the owner still be in the area? She knew that there was a chance that the bag’s original owner might have lost it months, or even years, ago.

Taking To Social Media

Sara’s post on Facebook 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.”

Luckily, the camera’s owner happened to be nearby. And the power of social media was all that was needed to bring her and Sarah together.

Identity Revealed

Within just one hour of Sarah’s Facebook post, one of her followers identified the camera’s owner. Her name was Katie Connor. But Katie was confused at first.

Sarah reached out to the woman with a Facebook message, informing her that she had her camera and SD card full of photographs, but Katie had no idea what she was talking about. That’s when Sarah decided to send her some of the photos in hopes of jogging her memory.

Long Gone

When Katie saw the old photos of her baby boy, she almost burst into tears. She had thought that the camera and all its memories were gone forever!

Sarah arranged to meet Katie at the local Target parking lot, but she could never have suspected just what an emotional reunion this was going to be.


“Thank you!” Katie exclaims as she strides up to Sarah, with an exalted but incredulous look on her face. Sarah hands her the precious camera, and Katie says with a wide smile: “I think we thought it was long gone!”

Then, she tells Sarah just how long the camera had been missing for. Sarah is floored.

7 Years Ago

It was 2017 when Sarah stumbled on the camera inside her lucky Goodwill find, but the camera had actually gone missing in 2010. Katie’s baby had been just a year old when she had taken the photos, but now he was 7.

And, of course, Katie couldn’t wait to look through the old photos with her son as soon as she got home!


Katie had never expected her camera to be found, let alone returned to her. And now, thanks to Sarah, she has all those precious memories back.

But Sarah doesn’t think that what she did is worthy of being called a “Good Samaritan” in the local papers. “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,” she said in an interview. Sometimes, being a good samaritan just comes naturally.

The Wheel Turns

He picked up the piece of paper and gave it a glance. His brows furrowed as he realized what he was holding in his palm. He had to read the amount written on it loud to ensure his mind wasn’t playing tricks on him.

What if he cashed it? The sum would be enough to solve a lot of the issues he was facing. But he turned the paper over, seeing something that had him tearing off in a sprint.  

Rock Bottom

Elmer Alvarez was living on the street, and things just couldn’t get any worse. He never thought it would happen to him, but here he was–at the proverbial rock bottom. His personal demons taunted him day in and day out. 

He thought he would see a change after he had gotten clean, but now that he felt like he had finally gotten his life together, his life choices came back to haunt him.

Winter Approaching

To make matters worse, winter was coming to Connecticut. Although Elmer had endured a few, this one was set to be particularly bitter.

His hopeless sigh turned to steam in the chilly November air as he set out to stand at the place he seemed to have the most luck. He relied on the kindness of strangers now, and he had no idea what this fateful day had in store for him.


Elmer would recount later that the events of this particular day would change his life forever, although he didn’t know it yet. He plodded along through the chilly morning, but today he seemed invisible–like a ghost wandering the streets of Connecticut.

“Can you spare any change?” he asked passersby, and every now and again, someone would stop and fish out a few coins from their thick jackets.

Getting By

Elmer decided it was time to move on and began the long walk to another block. People hurried by, their faces covered by thick scarves and their hands firmly in their coat pockets, their minds on what to order for lunch and the long workday ahead.

Elmer wished he had the luxury to worry about these things, but he was in survival mode, wondering where his next meal would come from–if it came at all. Suddenly, he spotted something lying on the ground.

On The Sidewalk

It looked like a piece of paper, hurriedly dropped and forgotten there on the pavement. A gust of icy wind blew up and caught it, making it flutter and dance along the sidewalk. Elmer doesn’t know why he did what he did, but he somehow knew that this piece of paper was entwined with his destiny.

He walked deliberately up to it and bent down to catch it in his frozen hands. But when he saw what was written on it in black ink, he almost blacked out.

No Ordinary Piece Of Paper

Elmer examined the piece of paper again, and he realized that his tired eyes weren’t playing tricks on him. Someone had dropped something that could make all his dreams come true.

It was a signed check, but the block where the beneficiary would have been written was left blank. Even more surprising was the staggering amount that had been written on the watermarked paper.

Daring To Dream

Elmer’s mind raced as he looked at the numbers again and again. The amount was $10,000–and it could all be his. All he would have to do was cash it, and he could get back on his feet and even off the streets.

He looked around furtively, but there was nobody in sight. Whoever had dropped the check was long gone. Was this a sign from the universe? Could he? And did he even dare?

Roberta Hoskie

Just a few blocks away from where Elmer was having his mind blown by his miraculous find, Roberta Hoskie sat at her desk in her office. The CEO and President of both Outreach Realty Services and Outreach School of Real Estate was hard at work, making appointments and planning her day.

To make it in real estate was difficult, and nobody knew this better than Roberta.

Making A Name For Herself

It is hard to believe that this self-made powerhouse of a woman had once been homeless herself. At Just 17 years old and with nobody to turn to, she was a single mother struggling to get by.

Thankfully, her luck changed when she applied for an internship at Yale University. Although she had managed to claw her way out of poverty, she never let herself forget the long and lonely nights she spent out on the streets.

Is Something Missing?

Meanwhile, Elmer turned the check over. Written on the back was a phone number. It was Roberta’s phone number, and although he didn’t know it yet, she hadn’t even realized that she’d lost it.

The two strangers’ worlds were about to collide, and Elmer’s life was about to be turned upside down. Although it pained him, Elmer knew what he had to do.

A Decision

Elmer looked at the check and took a deep breath. Was he really going to go through with this? $10,000 was an enormous sum of money.

Was he making the right decision? With a new resolve, he walked down the road that would lead him to his destiny. One of his friends had a cellphone, and he would need it for what he was about to set out to do.

A Phonecall

The phone rang three times, and Roberta answered it. The man on the other end of the line informed her that she had lost a check that very morning, and she was floored. She searched her handbag in a frenzy and was horrified to discover that the check was indeed missing.

How could she have been so careless, she thought angrily. Regaining her composure, she politely asked the man where they could meet so he could return the check.


Elmer met Roberta on a nearby street corner with his friend and handed her lost check back to her. She was astonished by the man’s honesty, after all, someone else may not have been so honorable when it came to $10,000 on a blank check.

Roberta recorded the entire incident and posted it to Facebook. After chatting with the men for a while, she made an alarming discovery.


Elmer was far too proud to inform Roberto that he was actually homeless, so his friend took the liberty of doing it for him.

She looked at him in disbelief when she heard the news–this new information made the man’s actions that much more meaningful! But Elmer never expected how far she would go to repay him.

A Chance Meeting

Roberto deliberated for a while about what she could do for Elmer to show her gratitude, and then she reached an incredible conclusion. Elmer and her meeting in the way they did couldn’t be a coincidence, could it?

Fate had thrown the strangers together for a much larger reason. She told Elmer to wait at the street corner and rushed back to her office to get her checkbook.

A Reward

She wrote Elmer a check, and she told him her own story of how she had become a success through sheer willpower and strength. Elmer was floored that she, too, had known such extreme poverty.

He gratefully accepted her check, but when he tried to cash it, Roberta realized that any cash reward would be just a small respite for him and that he had a bigger problem she could help with.


The teller at the bank had refused to cash Elmer’s check, even though it was clearly made out to him and the ID matched. They insisted on giving Roberta a call to clarify that she had indeed given the homeless man the money.

They were suspicious that the check was fraudulent. But two weeks later, Roberta reached out to Elmer again, this time with a solution to all his troubles.


After Roberta had posted the video of Elmer returning her blank check to Facebook, the post exploded. Everyone was in awe of the man’s honesty, and he had grown quite a following–even though he didn’t know it yet.

When he met Roberta for the second time at her office, he was greeted by a throng of people, all applauding and cheering him on. But that wasn’t the only surprise he had that day.


Elmer was presented with a thank-you certificate from an organization that aided with poverty called Ms. Millionaire Mindset, and then Roberta sat him down and proceeded to unveil her grand plans for him.

She said she was going to “teach him how to fish” and then explained exactly how she was going to do that.

Teaching Him How To Fish

Roberta had enrolled him at her successful real estate school, and his classes would be free of charge.

She was going to teach him how to pull himself out of the poverty cycle, just as she had all those years ago. Then, Roberta went on to present a gobsmacked Elmer with an even bigger surprise.

Another Surprise

Roberta informed him that she had secured him an apartment to live in for the next 6 months–and she had paid the entire rent in full!

Elmer’s face crumpled with emotion as he took the enormity of the gesture in, then he leaned over to her and gave her a hug that said all the words he couldn’t. Roberta had changed his life for the better…how could he ever thank her?

Setting Him Up For Success

But the surprises weren’t over yet. Roberta had also set up a standing job interview at her friend’s real estate firm, and once he felt like he was ready, he could go after a career in real estate. 

“I’m ready now!” he blurted tearfully. Just two weeks later, Roberta saw the results of all her good deeds for Elmer, and he had some amazing news.

Exam Results

Roberta and Elmer waited in anticipation of the results of the real estate exam, which would mean that Elmer was on his way to being a qualified real estate agent.

Elmer had studied hard and had attended all his classes diligently, and now the results were finally in. Roberto took a deep breath and flipped the results over so they could see them together.

Forever Changed

Roberto grinned widely at the long-awaited results…Elmer had passed his exam! The pair was elated at the good news. Now, Elmer was all set to finally fulfill his dreams. And it was all thanks to the blank check he had found and his honorable decision to return it to its rightful owner.

His sidewalk discovery had set off a chain of events that would end in his life being changed forever. Elmer is now firmly in the ranks of the National Association of Realtors, and he couldn’t be happier!