Tales from a Thrift Store: A Widower’s Lost Photos

by Kyle Petryla
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thrift store finds

by Kyle Petryla

An elderly gentleman came into the thrift store today somewhat distraught.  Apparently, he had come by yesterday to donate but had accidentally dropped off some pictures that were not supposed to be discarded.  The photos were important to him because they were of his wife, who had recently passed, and her friends at work.  This poor man could not bear the thought of losing these photos and needed our help getting them back.

Obviously, I assured him I would do my best. I asked what I might be looking for since we receive hundreds, if not thousand, of items a day.  And, while the cages our donations are stored in until dispersed on the floor are dated, I still needed more to go on in hopes of narrowing it down a bit.

Unfortunately, he told me that they would be in a U-Haul box, which was not immensely helpful since we get those all the time. He also said that they were not loose photos, they were in black frames and one in pink, which was not entirely helpful for the initial stage of this mission.  After a bit more digging, I finally learned a key piece of information. The U-Haul box was not all that the elderly gentleman donated. He also forked over a blue lamp.

A blue lamp, finally, something to work with!

I enlisted the help of some coworkers, and together we went on a scouting mission through a maze of overstuffed cages, hoping to hell we would spot a blue lamp next to a U-Haul box, and give this man his treasures back.

A coworker spotted the lamp first, I rushed over and right next to it, a U-Haul box!  Excellent, I looked inside and there they were, photos in black frames and one pink frame.

The old widower was extremely grateful to get his photos back. He could now carry on his plan to one day pass the photos along to his grandchildren so, they would have something to remember their grandmother by. I asked if he would mind if I took a few pics of the photos with my phone, and I’m so glad he said yes because now I can share the photos with you.

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