Bev Gobin bought a purse for $2.50 at the Goodwill Store in Maquoketa, Iowa this week. When she returned home, she opened it to clean the inside. A thumb drive fell out of it.
She popped the drive into a computer, initially hesitant to view whatever may be stored on it.
“I put it in the computer, and thought, ‘I can’t do this, it’s not mine.’ Four hours later, I thought, ‘How am I ever going to know who this belongs to unless I look?’”
So she did.
“I saw these beautiful wedding photos. I kept looking. Over five hundred later, I knew I had to find the owner,” said Gobin, a teacher’s aide at Maquoketa High School.
The pictures showed a happy young couple in love at their wedding ceremony. After scanning through hundreds of happy moments captured in the photographs, Gobin discovered heartbreaking images of the same couple with their newborn son, who had died in the hospital.
“The mother and father were crying, dressing the baby, and kissing the baby,” she recounted.
“It broke my heart. If it were me, I would want these pictures. What if they didn’t have a copy? They needed this back,” said Gobin.
Within hours of posting two dozen of only the wedding photos on Facebook, Gobin and her friends found the photographer who shot the pictures, a woman who was also the groom’s cousin.
“The pictures were taken in 2008,” said Rochelle Hoeger, a photographer from Dyersville, Iowa. The couple lives a couple of hours away from the Quad Cities area.
“I’m going to deliver the flash drive directly to the family it belongs to,” said Hoeger. “It just goes to show that she (Bev) knows what’s priceless and what’s important.”
Hoeger agreed to meet Gobin hugged when they met face-to-face in the parking lot of the Goodwill store where it all started. They celebrated mystery solved thanks to a second-hand purse, social media and a woman who did the right thing.
“I think it’s amazing that Bev was determined, was dedicated. It’s just great to know there are honest people out there,” said Hoeger. “Some people would have just thrown it away.”
“I believe if you find something that’s not yours and you didn’t pay for it, you need to find out where it really goes,” Gobin said. “I bought this purse because I fell in love with it. Now, I’m glad I did.”
Thanks to our sister station WQAD for this story.