Woman Bought a Used Designer Bag at Goodwill, Inside She Found an Item That Turned Her Whole World Upside Down

2019-10-29 Stories

This article was originally published on our website: beautyvsfashion.com

If you’ve ever been to a thrift store you know very well that 'one man’s trash is another man’s treasure' isn’t just a saying – it’s actually true! You can find all kinds of things in thrift shops from designer dresses and wedding gowns to antique furniture and rare vintage items.

Sometimes we look at the things and clothes in the shop and don’t even realize their true value! This is exactly what happened to Sarah Thomas, a woman from Portland who made a truly surprising discovery at Goodwill.

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What she thought was just an ordinary, although beautiful, designer bag turned out to be an item with a mystery that needed to be solved. What she found inside was truly unexpected!


Thrift Store Fashion

Sarah Thomas has always liked exploring the world of thrift shops and second-hand things because she realized there are tons of valuable items in there. You can find anything there: a barely used wedding suit, a vintage vase, a posh armchair, or haute couture shoes worthy of a supermodel.

She was so good at finding these peculiar things that she decided to make a business out of it! It’s no easy task to rummage through tons of second-hand stuff, but Sarah was up for it.

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She opened her retail store with gorgeous things she picked up at thrift stores and various sales. With an incredible eye for detail, she always managed to find something truly unique. And this time was no different!


The Treasures of Charity Shops

Most people don’t even realize that what they possess is of great value. The old bag from your grandmother that used to gather dust in the attic for decades may very well turn out to be a priceless treasure!

Old doesn’t mean useless – that’s the number one rule one should remember when going to the thrift store. In fact, the older the item, the more chances are it’s a gorgeous vintage gem!

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People tend to get rid of old things, regarding them as out-of-date junk, that’s where treasure-seekers like Sarah Thomas come in, knowing very well that under a thick layer of dust something really valuable might be hiding. When Sarah picked up a unique-looking bag she knew she was onto something!


Unexpected Discoveries

When coming to a thrift store it’s very important to be patient and learn to interact with the things there easily. There’s a certain flow of thrift shopping that comes with practice, but if you’re new to this the main advice would be to just follow your hunch.

Thrift shops are packed with all kinds of goodies and it’s easy to get lost there between the piles of antique furniture, weird-looking clothes, exquisite vases, unusual-looking cups, glasses, and peculiar paintings.

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That’s why you need to listen to your intuition and go to that row of goodies or to that pile of clothes that kind of speaks to you. It may seem a bit vague, but this is the best way to find amazing treasures!


The Gifts of Goodwill

One of the many places Sarah Thomas likes to visit is Goodwill. This company has thousands of stores all across the United States, offering a wide range of second-hand goods at a decent price.

The amount of donations they receive is truly mind-bending, so there are always some unique things one can find in their shops. Goodwill not only sells things at affordable prices, this organization also helps people with disabilities and those having trouble finding a job.

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It was just another day for Sarah Thompson looking through various items at a Goodwill store that she could later sell at her shop after restoring the item to its original beautiful look. There was a bag that immediately caught her eye due to a few peculiar details.


Sarah’s Business

Sarah Thomas founded her very own business called Sarah’s Southern Oregon 2nd Hand Deals to share her amazing second-hand finds with all the fashionistas out there. She had an eye for beautiful things, so her business was doing well.

Still, it required lots of hard work as she needed to visit various thrift stores and look for interesting things that she could later sell via her Facebook shop.

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Sometimes she could spend just a few minutes at the shop and come up with a bag full of clothes and stylish accessories, while other days were not as fruitful and she came home empty-handed. Looking for something special required patience and lots of time. Luckily, Sarah had a few golden rules of shopping she followed every time she entered a thrift store.


Be as Quick as Possible

It might sound a bit weird, but once you enter a thrift shop (or any shop for that matter) – be as quick as possible! Usually, if you don’t find something interesting in the first 10-15 minutes of your shopping - it’s a clear sign that you should move on to the next place!

If you spend more than half an hour at one place then you’ll probably get stuck there for hours and the time spent there would be just as fruitless.

Sarah wasn’t quite sure how it worked, but her experience proved this to be right! If she didn’t find an interesting item in the first 15 minutes of thrift-shopping, she got stuck there for longer and still didn’t find anything of value. And this time was no different!


A Fateful Day

It was just a usual day for Sarah as she went exploring her usual shops searching for some interesting items she could sell later. No matter how many times you go thrift-shopping you never know what to expect.

New things, furniture, accessories, and various antiquities come in regularly, so the assortment never gets old. Sarah looked around, feeling the familiar surge of excitement – she was about to find something good

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As much as Sarah liked shopping, after a few years of doing this the whole process became less thrilling. This often happens with hobbies that turn into jobs, and for Sarah it was no different. What started out as a passion for beautiful and unique things soon turned into a job that had its ups and downs. But this time she felt as excited as she was when she first came into a thrift shop!


A Peculiar Find

A few items immediately caught Sarah’s eye as she entered the shop. She looked through a few blouses and jackets, inspected one funny-looking skirt, and then moved to the accessories. Those things were good, but they didn’t have the wow effect she was looking for.

There’s always a high chance of finding a good purse or a bag in a thrift store. As it often happens to women, they tend to get tired of bags long before they start looking worn out. Of course, there are also many bags that have been properly used and usually they look the part.

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Out of all the accessories one bag stood out the most. Sarah picked it up not expecting much, but after a careful examination it turned out to be a new good-looking bag with a designer’s print on it. Was it actually more valuable than she thought?


Hitting the Jackpot

As soon as Sarah picked up the bag she felt like she hit the jackpot. Was it the peculiar design of the bag or fact that it looked almost new? Sarah couldn’t tell at this point.

It was her intuition, that familiar hunch that has been guiding her in her thrift store hunts for years, telling her she’s found something incredible. Sarah knew she was holding a unique item, she just didn’t realize how great it was yet.

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Sarah felt like a little girl who got a present she’s been waiting for a long time. She had a similar feeling when she found an item suitable for her online shop, but this time it was a little bit different. What made this bag so special?


A Bag with a Secret

The diaper bag looked great – it was stylish and didn’t look old at all. Even if it was a decade old, Sarah couldn’t tell because of its modern design.

It had lots of pockets as you’d expect in a diaper bag and a beautiful pattern that immediately caught the eye. This bag seemed like a perfect item for her own shop, so Sarah didn’t think twice before buying it. It seemed like a perfect deal!

She carefully examined it one more time, noting that it was in nearly perfect condition without a single scratch anywhere. Still, there was something odd about the bag, but Sarah couldn’t put her figure on it yet. She decided to buy it and take a closer look at home.


A Vintage Treasure

How much do you think that bag would cost in a shop? A fully functional designer’s item like this could cost a real fortune! Goodwill was selling it for a mere $3 and Sarah couldn’t be happier with her find.

The original price for a unique item like this was probably around $300. Of course, a used bag would cost less, but it could still be sold for a good price.

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Sarah Thomas paid the cashier at the shop and headed home to examine her amazing find and maybe put it up for sale. She couldn’t be happier! As she lifted the bag, Sarah felt that it was kind of heavier than she expected. What could it be?


Something Was Off

Sarah spent the next few hours exploring what other gorgeous items the thrift shop had in store for her and finally called it a day. She was delighted with her finds, but the bag made her feel like she’s won a lottery.

She was right in so many ways! Sarah was already imagining how many people would want to buy this designer’s item, but she had to make sure it was in perfect condition both outside and inside.

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She weighed it in her hands one more time, puzzled by the unexpected heaviness. The bag did weigh more than it should! Sarah opened it up and the bag turned out to be empty. So what could this be?


An Unexpected Find

Next thing Sarah wanted to check all the seams to make sure the bag was intact. She started examining them carefully one by one, and everything seemed to be in perfect condition.

Sarah gave the bag a shake and was startled to hear a strange rattle inside. She gave it another shake and this time she was sure – some object was trapped inside the bag. But where?

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The woman looked inside each and every pocket and compartment of the bag, but couldn’t find the source of that weird sound. Something was definitely hiding inside the bag! And by the sound of it, the object was quite big in size.


Sarah Felt Puzzled

What on Earth has she discovered? Sarah couldn’t understand how the object got trapped inside the bag, but now she was willing to find what it was. Somehow, in her heart, she felt that it was important.

Sarah had to examine each centimetre of the bag once again. She took her time and turned the diaper bag around, leaving nothing behind. The seams were intact, but suddenly she came across a small opening near the inner pocket of the main compartment of the bag.

That should have been it! The opening seemed too small for anything to get through it, but it was the only lead Sarah had. She tried to pry it open with her hand as gently as she could without damaging the bag furthermore. The hole seemed impenetrable…


What Could It Be?

Sarah was feeling both frustrated and excited by her find. The whole was tight and it seemed like nothing big could get through it. But something did, and now she had to find out what it was.

Sarah spent the next half an hour trying to pry the hole open as gently as she could using her fingers only. Each passing minute made her feel even more frustrated. Somehow Sarah felt that inside she would find something very unusual, so she didn’t give up.

Finally, she decided to make a little cut so the opening would become bigger. This meant that she would damage the bag that was in such good condition, but there was no way she would back off at this point. She had to find out what was hidden in there!


A New Mystery

Finally, Sarah could get a few of her fingers through the opening – there was definitely space there, in the insides of the bag, and some strange object was hidden there, invisible from the outside. She felt that the object was cold to the touch almost as if it was made out of metal.

It wasn’t too big, so Sarah was able to grab it and pull out of the small opening in the lining of the bag. Imagine the woman’s surprise when she ended up with a brand new little camera on her hands!

It was a blue Sony camera so small that it somehow got lost in the inner folds of the bag. It was a mystery indeed! But it was much more interesting to find out what was on it. Sarah didn’t know whether she should take a look or simply let it go.


The Secret of the Lost Camera

Sarah was at the crossroads – on one hand, she felt that it wasn’t right to look at someone else’s camera and personal photos that might be on the SD card, but on the other hand, she found this camera for a reason and it would be irresponsible to ignore it.

The camera may contain some valuable shots from another person’s life, wouldn’t it be right to find the owner and return these memories to him?

Sarah didn’t want to leave the camera for herself, after all, she bought only a bag, not a camera. That would have been a different price altogether! If it was her camera she would definitely want it to be returned, no matter how many years have passed. Finally, Sarah decided that finding the owner would be the best thing to do. For that, she needed to look if it contained any photos.


So What’s Next?

Sarah had to think for a few minutes, after all, it’s not every day you make a find like this. Her hunch was right before when she was just picking the bag from the pile of accessories in a thrift store, so she should listen to it one more time.

Her intuition was telling Sarah that she needed to press forward. She found this camera for a reason – there must be someone out there missing this device and its content. Sarah was sure of that! If it was Sarah who lost the camera like this, she would definitely want it back.

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Finally, Sarah decided that finding the owner would be the best thing to do. For that, she needed to look if the camera contained any photos.


The SD-Card

It was a simple little camera, so Sarah hoped she could easily get to the photos if there were any. Some cameras require you to use some kind of cable to get to its contents and she was worried she’d get stuck at this point.

Sarah carefully examined the camera, looking for an opening that would hold an SD-card. This was the quickest way to access the photos and she really hoped this camera had one.

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Finally, Sarah sighed with relief. She found a small button at the rear of the camera and the SD-card came out with a light clicking sound. Luck was on Sarah’s side, now all she had to do was use a card-reader and open the photos that will allow her to continue her investigation. But what if the SD-card contained no photos at all?


A Heart-Breaking Find

Sarah couldn’t believe her eyes when she opened the SD card and saw what was there. It was full of priceless photos of a mother and a small baby – no more than a few weeks old!

Sarah felt both relieved that she found these amazing precious photos and worried that the woman from the pictures would never see them again. How should she proceed? Is there a way to find her now?

Of course, the camera didn’t contain any information about the owner, neither did the photos. Sarah didn’t know where they were taken and there was no way of telling who was the mysterious woman. What should she do next?


A Life-Changing Decision

For Sarah, it wasn’t even a question whether to find the woman in the photos or not. She lived by one simple rule – you should treat other people the way you want to be treated yourself.

If she were this woman, she would definitely want to get her camera and precious memories back. That’s why Sarah wasn’t hesitating even a bit when deciding whether to search for the rightful owner or not.

Should she try and find the owner via Goodwill, the shop she got the bag from? But it was unlikely they record every person that donates their things to the shop. This bag could also have come from another part of the country! Sarah was getting desperate, but then she had a different idea.


The Power of Facebook

Sarah decided she wouldn’t waste her time trying to find some information about the bag via the shop she got it from as it was unlikely they’d give a hint about the bag’s owner. But there was another way!

Sarah has been on Facebook for a long time and had a considerable following due to the online business she was running. This meant she could ask her followers for help!

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This was the time to test the power of Facebook to see whether it is able to connect people the way it’s supposed to. Was this truly possible? Sarah didn’t know yet, but she was willing to give it a try.


Doing the Right Thing

Sarah didn’t hesitate for a second and was sure that once people find out about her situation they’d be eager to help. No one would want to lose precious photos like these!

She decided to make a post with a short story about her find and a photo of the woman with a baby she got from the camera. The reaction blew her away!

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Sarah always believed that people were ultimately good and there were more kind-hearted people in the world than mean ones. As she was composing the post for Facebook she couldn’t even imagine what feedback she’d receive.


A Social Media Miracle

The moment Sarah hit ‘send’ the post started gathering comments. Everyone was sharing it like crazy! It seemed like the post got a new like every second and people kept sharing it non-stop.

The number of shares soon surpassed the number of her followers and the post became viral. Everyone wanted to find the owner of the camera so much!

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Sarah observed this in astonishment, secretly praying that this would work and the mother from the photos would recognize herself or someone else will tell her about Sarah’s find. Finally, one of the followers recognized that woman!


A New Challenge

The woman from the camera photos was Katie Connor and Sarah was on cloud nine that she finally knew who the owner of the camera was. She swiftly contacted the woman, describing the whole situation, but the reply she got was truly confusing.

It turned out Katie Connor never had a blue Sony camera with baby pictures on it! Sarah couldn’t believe her eyes. Could it be a mistake? After all the searching, waiting and hoping, Sarah didn’t want to give up so easily.

She decided to try one more time and attached a few photos from the camera hoping that Katie Connor would recognize herself in the photos.  What she told Sarah was absolutely mind-bending!


The Unbelievable Truth

It turned out that Katie had no memories of the camera and photos on it because they were taken almost a decade ago! Yes, the little blue Sony contained pictures from a distant past when Katie’s baby was a little less than a month old.

Connor had no recollection about these photos being taken and where the camera disappeared afterwards. She was so busy with the new-born she simply didn’t have time for that!

Katie couldn’t believe her eyes when she saw the pictures Sarah sent her – it was definitely her in the pictures and now she was slowly remembering when and where they were taken. Sarah proposed they would meet so she could return the camera along with the precious SD card containing all the shots.


An Emotional Meeting

The two women decided to meet at the parking lot of a local Target – it was within their reach and they both could get there fast enough. Sarah still couldn’t believe her luck and the way social media helped them find each other. It was like magic!

Sarah was a bit worried that it would be hard for them to recognize each other, but they’ve exchanged photos, so they prepared for the meeting as best as they could.

When they finally saw each other it felt like a moment from a movie! Both Katie and Sarah were pretty nervous before the meeting, but they instantly felt better when they finally spotted each other at the parking lot at Target.


The Long-Lost Memories

Whether it was destiny that brought the two women together or simply luck, Sarah was on cloud nine that she could return the camera to its rightful owner. It felt like such an important moment for her and Katie, who was reuniting with the long-lost memories of her baby boy.

The two women instantly connected and chatted effortlessly, talking about the whole thing as if they were best friends.

Katie revealed that she forgot all about these photos because they were taken a long time ago and she wasn’t hoping to get them back. Everyone in her family thought that camera was lost for good!


Katie Connor was Speechless

Of course, Sarah was stunned by how all the events unfolded, but can you imagine Katie Connor’s surprise when she got a message from Sarah about the long-lost baby photos? She felt like she was in some kind of TV drama with a happy ending!

Katie thanked Sarah from the bottom of her heart, revealing that the baby from the photos is now a 7-year-old boy. It was such a delight to see his baby pics once again!

Both women spent some time talking and then Katie hurried back home to tell her family about this incredible story and look through the photos she thought she’d never see again. Still, for Sarah, this was not the end!


This Incredible Story Hit the News

Sarah Thomas quickly became a sort of local celebrity, appearing in the newspapers and giving interviews for a few news channels. The heart-warming story of a mother that got reunited with long-lost photos of her baby appealed to thousands of people.

Sarah was contacted by numerous readers, who were saying just how amazing she was and that it was such a great thing to do. Journalists were also eager to hear the story told from her perspective.

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Everyone was praising Sarah for what she did, but for her it was the most natural decision ever. She never gave it another thought and simply went with what felt right. Wouldn’t anyone do the same in her place?


The Good Samaritan

As fascinating as the story seemed to all the news reporters, Sarah Thomas didn’t feel like she’s done something outstanding. Wasn’t it the most natural thing to do in this case?

Even if the photos weren’t so precious, she would still try to find the owner of the camera because it was the right thing to do. Sarah was amazed at all the praise she’s gotten for such a humane act of kindness.

Well, Sarah might not think that she’s done anything special, but we think she’s an amazing human being, whose commitment and kind heart inspired thousands of people who read or watched her story. She’s an example for all of us!