We all love a good bargain. Why else would we hassle over prices? It feels amazing to know you’ve gotten a great deal for a product. But nothing can compare to the rush of adrenaline when you find a hidden gem in the discount bin.
But one Portland mom got more than just a good bargain. She has been in the news for many reasons after discovering an astonishing secret when she went shopping. Sarah Thomas didn’t know her routine bargain shopping would turn into a stunning adventure that made headlines! Read on to find out how!
Sarah Thomas Loves Bargains
Sarah Thomas is a mom from Portland, Oregon. She has always been a shopper who hunts for the best deals. She regularly visits Goodwill and other charity shops, rummaging through the second-hand stuff for hidden gems donated by unknowing owners. Thomas has a deep love for bargain hunting.
She owns an online retail business where she finds vintage treasures at yard sales and resells them to other fashionistas. Thomas has always had a keen eye for detail, but even she could not have predicted the priceless gem she was about to discover.
Charity Shops Are Goldmines
Everyone knows that charity shops and second-hand stores usually hold products of considerable value. In most cases, the original owners don’t know how valuable the items are that they’re giving away. Although they could sell their belongings for high prices, many people instead gift them to thrift stores…
…unaware of the fortune they could bring. Of course, people may just choose to give away these precious items just for charitable giving. What Thomas discovered that day, on the other hand, was immediately apparent as something the original owners would never have willingly let go of.
Where There’s a Will….
Goodwill stores are popular in America. This non-profit organization has thousands of stores across the country, accepting second-hand clothing and household items as donations and reselling them at cheap prices. Goodwill is well-known for not just selling goods and items at low prices, but also for providing job opportunities.
Most times, these people would otherwise struggle to find decent work. How wonderful is that? When Sarah Thomas made her great discovery, she knew she had a big decision to make, but she also knew that a charity like Goodwill wouldn’t hesitate to do the right thing.
It Started Just Like Any Other Day
That fateful day began like any other for Sarah Thomas. Managing Sarah’s Southern Oregon 2nd Hand Deals – Thomas’s clothing resale business and Facebook page – is a major commitment that requires a lot of resourcefulness and time management. After all, she needs a good eye and to be in many places.
Part of Thomas’s job in running her business is to go to Goodwill and other thrift stores and hunt for fantastic deals that may subsequently be sold on her website. Thomas set out for a regular day of bargain hunting, unaware of the astonishing surprise that awaited.
Discovering the Designer Bag
As Thomas went about her usual shopping, looking for the best deals to resell in her online store, one item caught her eye – a diaper bag. She knew it was a designer brand because of the design, and she could tell it was in great shape.
It was almost like new. The bag’s style and pattern were also highly trendy and attractive – it appeared to be an ideal option for one of Thomas’s resale items. She decided to take a closer look, oblivious to the astounding implications of picking up this bag.
Hmm…Let’s Take a Closer Look, Shall We?
When Thomas took a good look at the diaper bag, she realized it was one she wanted for her collection. Not only was the brand label authentic, but Thomas could tell that the bag was vintage. It was also in great shape, almost as if it had never been used.
And this was uncommon, considering Goodwill and similar stores predominantly house second-hand items. Thomas anticipated that the retail price of this lovely bag would have been approximately $200 – and yet, it was on sale for $3 in this store. What an amazing deal!
There Was No Need to Think Twice
Thomas didn’t need to think about it a second longer. This was the perfect bag for her. She paid the $3 to the cashier without hesitation, and this amazing, mint-condition designer bag was hers. What a find! Thomas couldn’t wait to go home and admire it.
She knew she would enjoy the luxurious details before posting the bag on her website for prospective customers to order as soon as possible. It was such a lovely and high-quality bag that she knew there would be a long line of people eager to get their hands on it.
A Bit Heavier Than Expected
After Thomas paid for the bag, she picked it up to take it home and admire it even more. But then she discovered it was a bit heavier than it looked. Surely, it shouldn’t be this heavy – a fabric diaper bag with no contents and no labeling.
What could be weighing it down in this way? Thomas didn’t give it much consideration because she had more bargains to look for that day. It wasn’t until she took the bag home and examined it more closely that things began to become strange.
Open Your Ears and Listen Closely
Immediately after Thomas got home, she began unpacking all her latest purchases and then shifted her attention to this beautiful piece she was already in love with. She needed to get it ready so she could photograph it and post it on her website.
Again, she felt how much heavier it was than it appeared. But now, she noticed something else: in addition to the unusual weight, she heard a weird sound coming from inside. “I was cleaning it and noticed something heavy shaking around in there,” Thomas explained to NBC News 10.
Was She Imagining Things?
Now, when you get a bag from a thrift store and something starts moving and making noise, there’s cause for alarm. Thomas was convinced she could hear something in the bag. But, no matter what she did, she couldn’t pinpoint the source of the noise.
She went through the bag multiple times – but she couldn’t find anything. Was Thomas hallucinating? The bag appeared empty, but there was still a strange sound coming from within. Where had this bag come from, and why had the owners decided to part with it?
Discovering the Secret Passage to the Truth
Thomas was beginning to realize that this was a strange bag – but she had no idea how to figure out what was causing this strange sound. Then something caught her eye that could be the key to solving the mystery. There was a little hole within the inner lining.
The hole was at the top of the bag, just by the interior pocket. Thomas was taken aback – might this be the answer to the mysterious noise? She tried to reach her fingers or palm through the hole to feel around, but it was too tiny for her.
Making Her Way Through the Hole
Now that she had seen what the source of the sound and movement could possibly be, Thomas got to work. She gradually began to work on the tiny opening, hoping to widen it sufficiently for her to insert her hand, or at least a few fingers.
That way, she could sift through the bag’s lining to see whether there was anything inside that was producing the strange sounds. Thomas eventually opened the hole wide enough to put her hand inside. She took another look and, to her surprise, noticed a tiny glimmer of silver.
She Made an Astonishing Discovery
When Thomas finally worked her hand into the hole, she reached in and immediately felt something buried in the bag’s interior. She took it out and glanced at the object in awe. It was a little blue camera hidden in the folds of this lovely bag.
There was no trace of it visible from the exterior. This was the source of the strange sound! But the puzzle was far from solved, and this discovery only intensified it. If a camera is hidden so delicately, surely there was more to it? What was in the camera?
Is it Right to Pry?
Thomas was taken aback. She wasn’t sure what she should do — should she look at the camera’s pictures or return the item to the store and let them handle it? Thomas didn’t want to delve into someone else’s personal belongings, but it was now in her hands.
And the decision was hers. After all, the bag was hers, too. She had paid for it, remember? She decided to dive in and look over the photographs on this hidden camera. It felt like someone desperately wanted to hide the contents.
The Hidden Memories in the Camera
Although it was hidden, what she saw was completely different from what you would expect. Thomas became increasingly emotional as she glanced through the photographs from the hidden camera. The images were all the same — a woman and a baby. She couldn’t believe her eyes.
The baby appeared to be little more than a month old — these were beautiful mementos of a special moment in life. She couldn’t be certain, but she presumed the woman in the photos was the baby’s mother – and that she was undoubtedly someplace, desperate to reclaim these priceless memories.
She Knew She Had to Do the Right Thing
Despite being flooded with emotion and somewhat stunned, Thomas immediately realized what she had to do with this great find. These images weren’t hers; they were a treasured memory of someone else’s experiences. “I didn’t buy a camera; I bought a bag,” Thomas explained to KTVL.
“I live by the golden rule. I would hate someone to do that to me.” Thomas decided straight away that she needed to return the camera to its legitimate owner, most likely the mother in the pictures. But how exactly? It certainly wouldn’t be easy to find the owner.
She Was Determined to Realize Her Goal
Thomas was adamant that she finds the owner and reunite them with their treasured memories. She knew what she needed to do; she just didn’t know how. Goodwill stores are in each of the country’s 50 states. Do the donations stay in the area where they are collected?
Or could these photographs have been shot hundreds of miles away and the bag was moved from there? Thomas didn’t have the answers she needed, but that wasn’t going to stop her from doing what she knew was the right thing. It was already looking like a herculean task.
Committed to Her Principles
When you are completely devoted to doing the right thing, nothing can get in your way. Thomas knew she had to find the owner of these images and return them, and while she didn’t know precisely how she’d achieve her newfound goal, she knew she’d figure it out.
But how could Thomas possibly track down the individual who had donated the bag if she had no idea where or when it had been donated? That’s when a lightbulb came on. She realized what she had been missing – what she needed to find her target!
The Bright Idea That Came to Her
After much thought, Thomas had a great idea: to use social media. She already had a sizable Facebook following because of her business. Could this be the key to locating the original owner and returning their prized possession? Thomas had no idea where to begin, but she had to try.
She put herself in the owner’s shoes and realized that if she had been the one who had misplaced these images, having them back would have meant the world to her. “I’d hate to lose pictures,” Thomas explained. “It might not be much, but it is to somebody.”
Using Facebook to Find the Faces
Thomas knew it was difficult, but it was her only option at that point. She went on Facebook and posted, “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.” She attached a handful of the missing photos, clicked submit, and left the rest to fate.
The Pros of Social Media
We all know social media has its drawbacks. But it can be powerful, too. The reaction to Thomas’ tweet was unlike anything she had anticipated. She stared at the computer in awe as her post gained another like and share with each passing second. Finally, someone identified the woman.
One of Thomas’s followers recognized the woman in the photos as someone she knew. She informed Thomas that the camera belonged to Katie Connor. Thomas messaged Connor on Facebook to let her know she had acquired the camera. However, the response she received was completely unexpected.
The Incredible Story Takes a Different Trajectory
After eventually locating the owner of these images, Thomas could have been forgiven for assuming that this remarkable adventure had come to an end. However, the mystery only intensified. Things took an unexpected turn when Thomas contacted Katie Connor to inform her that she had discovered her camera.
Katie did not reply as she had anticipated. Connor didn’t know what Thomas was talking about. She had no memory of losing this camera and had no idea what images she could have shot. Could this follower have been mistaken? Did the images, after all, not belong to Connor?
Still in Search of the Truth
Despite Connor’s claim that she had no memory of the camera or photos, Thomas didn’t give up. She sent Connor some of the pictures from the SD card to see if any of them helped her remember anything. The floodgates were opened when Connor saw the images.
She discovered the images were of her son, taken just after his birth. Connor was taken aback; she had forgotten about the images and assumed they were lost forever! The two women agreed to meet and exchange images, but even more startling surprises were in store.
The Meeting Was Scheduled at Target
The two ladies agreed to meet at a nearby Target so Thomas could hand over the lost memories of Connor’s pictures with her son. They weren’t sure how they’d identify each other, but owing to the wonders of social media, they could view each other’s images while contacting each other.
Thomas could only hope that she would recognize Connor when she saw her and that she was entrusting the camera and its priceless memories to the right person. After all, there are many strange people on social media, and this could be a weird person.
Reunited With the Pictures at Last
It was now time for Thomas to return her monumental discovery to its true owner. It had taken a lot of hard work and a little luck to get to this point, but they were finally there. Also, an honorable mention goes to the power of Facebook!
The two women must have been anxious and overwhelmed as they neared the Target parking lot where they had arranged to meet. Well, that’s quite understandable. But when the women first saw each other, neither of them realized what an unbelievable exchange was about to take place.
The Pictures Had Been Lost for a Long, Long Time
It was astonishing enough that Thomas had discovered this camera and tracked it down to its original owner. But as amazing as that was, what she discovered next stunned her more than anything else that had happened. Connor explained that she never expected to see these images again.
That’s because the pictures were lost almost 7 years ago. This latest finding in a string of remarkable discoveries stunned Thomas. The baby in these images was now 7 years old! How incredible! Now we understand why Connor didn’t know what Thomas was talking about at first.
It Was Certainly Worth 7 Years of Waiting!
This discovery understandably surprised Thomas. But her reaction paled in comparison to Connor’s – imagine being reunited with your child’s baby pictures after having lost them for so long! “Thank you so much,” Connor responded to Thomas before telling her the truth about when the pictures were taken.
“It’s been a while since I’ve seen this camera,” Conner added. “I think we thought it was long gone.” Connor couldn’t wait to return home and go over the pictures of her beloved son as a baby, which she hadn’t seen in almost a decade!
The Discovery Made the News
After the two women met and exchanged the lost camera and the photos, the story made the news. Thomas’s amazing discovery and how she tracked down the rightful owner and returned the camera was the talk of the town. It got the local newspaper interested, and many others were fascinated, too.
The touching discovery of long-lost baby photos and the long-awaited reunion touched readers and journalists alike. Thomas noticed that one aspect of the story kept being brought up by reporters: her decision to trace Connor and return the photos. Thomas was puzzled – why was this such a hot topic?
It Was Never in Question for Thomas
This had never been a doubt for Thomas. The instant she found the lost camera and the pictures in her beautiful bag, she knew she had to do everything possible to return the camera to its rightful owner. Even if the photos weren’t as sentimental as they were.
It was still her duty to return them to the rightful owner, and she was convinced that this was the right thing to do. Thomas couldn’t believe how many people admired her commitment to doing the right thing – it was simply the only option for her.
An Invaluable Lesson for Everyone
The story of Thomas and Connor touched the hearts of everyone who read about it. Who wouldn’t be moved by the prospect of losing treasured baby photos and then being reunited with them many years later? What moved people was Thomas’s selfless dedication to returning the camera to its rightful owner.
After all, Thomas owned an online store where she could have sold the camera for extra cash. It could’ve fetched her a few dollars. But she didn’t do that. Thomas’ actions, and the two women’s subsequent friendship, are an inspiration to us all, and a reminder that kindness is important.