Person Buys $20 Jacket At Yard Sale, Quickly Realizes Owner Accidentally Left Something In Pocket

Person Buys $20 Jacket At Yard Sale, Quickly Realizes Owner Accidentally Left Something In Pocket

When a busy mother running a garage sale realized she’d sold a precious item that wasn’t supposed to be for sale in the first place — her heart nearly stopped. Somehow in her busy state, she’d parted with an item by mistake, and the consequences subsequently turned her world upside down.

An Expensive Mistake

The busy woman in question? That would be Dori Rhoades, who’s one of those people who’s always on the go, which unfortunately resulted in a costly mistake. She lost out on a fortune, all because she was trying to clear out some space.

CBS Los Angeles

And So It Begins

As the years went on, Dori’s home accumulated a ton of garage clutter. It’s almost like a natural phenomenon — after a decade or two of owning a home, miraculously, the garage starts to fill up with stuff, leaving most of the space unusable. Feeling overwhelmed by the state of it, Dori decided to cleanout.

Woodworking Enthusiasts / Youtube

Overly Exhausted

So Dori turned to her community’s spring garage sale to pawn off some stuff. However, this was about the tenth thing she’d added to her already full plate. “I volunteer in my kids’ classrooms multiple times a week, I work full time, I think anyone who is a mother knows,” Dori said about how busy she was.

OC Register

Heading For Disaster

That week, the mom of two was planning her son’s 9th birthday party, her own anniversary, organizing a teacher appreciation week, and volunteering at her children’s school. On top of that, she runs Conception Showroom — a maternity boutique in Los Angeles. And even with all that going on, Dori managed to get things in order for the garage sale, or so she thought.

Patty Remmell / Wikimedia Commons | CC BY-SA 3.0

The Distractions Are Winning

She was so busy with her full family and personal life that she was stretched too thin. “You give so much of yourself that sometimes your brain stops working,” Dori said. It’s understandable to be distracted with so much going on. But in the midst of her multitasking, Dori made a painful error.

FOX

Disaster Strikes

With working 40 hours a week at the office and then spending any free time caring for her young family, Dori was exhausted, so when she found an old denim jacket hanging in the back of her closet, she placed it in an ever-growing pile of garage sale items without a second thought.

Photo by Christian Vierig/Getty Images

Goodbye Jacket

“I fell asleep with the kids and then woke up around 2 a.m. in the morning and was gathering things for this garage sale,” Dori said in a GoodMorningAmerica.com interview. “I sold the jacket probably about 9 a.m. in the morning. It never even occurred to me what I was doing.”

Wikimedia Commons

The Realization

Until later that day, she didn’t realize what was hidden inside the long-forgotten jean jacket. The mom was at the pool with her kids and went to put something inside her pocket when an old memory burst into her mind.

Psilosighborg / Reddit

Big Oof

Inside of her jacket, to keep it safe from robbers, she stored her $18,000 diamond earrings, $1,500 in rainy day fund money, and another ring her husband gave her after the birth of her daughter. She gave it all away for $20.

kanakfinejewelry / eBay

It Gets Worse

Dori was devastated. Like the ring, the earrings also held sentimental value for her. They were a family heirloom. Her parents were Vietnamese immigrants who came to the United States in 1975 with very little.

Photo by Peter Charlesworth/LightRocket via Getty Images

Extinguishing A Legacy

“My dad had given my mom a ring, and after he passed, my mom gave the ring to me. It was something I’d wanted pass along to my daughter. And I saved up for the other stone to make the earrings,” Dori explained.

Pixabay

Greg Is Cool At Least

Though she is upset, she praised her husband Greg for being so supportive. “He’s been wonderful and said to me, ‘You know what, there’s nothing we can do. What’s done is done. Forgive yourself and move on.'”

Public Domain

Look For The Good

“He reminds me that the most important thing is we have our kids and each other and we’re healthy,” she said. Sometimes, when life is filled with uncertainty, it’s important to remember the things we may take for granted that surround us.

via Pxfuel

She Learned Something, People

And Dori did just that. “Through this, all I’ve always said that I have my family and my house and we’re together and that’s what matters, but what really eats me up is where that one particular stone had come from.” But she didn’t give up, either.

Piqsels

Will It Return?

Though she was feeling heartbroken over the loss of her treasures, Dori wasn’t giving up just yet. She attempted to track her belongings down, but there was a snag. Dori hadn’t noticed her items were missing until a few weeks after selling them. So, she couldn’t post missing signs, online or otherwise, until after her jacket and valuables were long gone. Even still, she hoped.

Public Domain

Maybe There’s Hope

Dori knew that in all likelihood — she probably wasn’t going to get her items back. However, she still felt it wasn’t completely illogical to hold out hope for their return. After all, another woman in California recovered her $23,000 wedding ring after her husband accidentally sold it.

ABC

Hidden Ring

The ring was in an old watch box and was also bought during a garage sale. Their purchaser gave it back when the couple appeared on Good Morning America. Even though Dori put out her message month ago, her items still haven’t been returned.

Ring Finders

Holding Out Hope

Even if she doesn’t get her ring and earrings back, Dori is proud of herself for doing everything she could to look for them. She still holds out hope that someone will recognize the jacket-buyer and connect them. A similar incident renewed the mom’s faith in the kindness of strangers.

Piqsels

Dropped Ring Into Cup

Just like Dori, another woman accidentally lost a valuable piece of jewelry, but in this case, it ended up in the hands of someone whose life it could’ve transformed. It was a pure accident when Sarah Darling emptied her coin purse — containing her diamond engagement band — into the cup of Billy Ray Harris, a man living on the streets.

Gary Dee / Wikimedia Commons | CC BY-SA 2.0

Unexpected Token

We can only imagine the shock Harris must’ve felt as he looked through the money in his cup that day. Panhandling doesn’t usually yield those kinds of results, even if it was just an accident! So where did this happen? Well, Harris was living on the streets of Kansas City, Missouri, at the time.

NBC News Productions

Finding Shelter

Yes, Harris was a recognizable face to the locals, who’d often try to help him out with donations. Despite their generosity, though, it wasn’t enough to put a roof over his head. Instead, he frequently had to make do with a spot below a nearby bridge when the evenings drew in.

WPRI / YouTube

Daily Routine

It was far from ideal. But Harris continued to show up in the same area once the sun rose, picking out a place on the pavement. With his trusty cup alongside him, he was relying on the kindness of strangers to get by. Mind you, everything changed when Darling crossed his path.

WPRI / YouTube

Who Wore The Ring?

A Kansas City resident, Darling had reason to be cheerful as she strolled along the street one Friday in February 2013. Her life seemed to be heading in an exciting direction following her engagement to partner Bill Krejci. But that bliss quickly turned on its head after she made a huge mistake.

NBC News Productions

Emptied Her Coin Purse

You see, when Darling spotted Harris on the sidewalk, she wanted to offer him some change. So, the local woman emptied the coins from her purse into his cup and went on her way. Unfortunately for Krejci’s partner, though, her diamond engagement band was sitting in there as well. And it ended up joining the rest of the discarded money.

NBC News Productions

The One Day She Took It Off

Talk about a good deed gone wrong! But why wasn’t the ring on Darling’s finger? Well, as fate would have it, she almost always wore the band, yet on that Friday her skin was inflamed. As a result, she’d stored it in her wallet. How unlucky can you get?

WPRI / YouTube

Neither Noticed

Anyway, neither Darling nor Harris noticed the seismic mistake at first. In fact, the latter carried on with his routine as per normal, completely unaware of what was sitting in his cup. It wasn’t until Harris started to gather his things together at the end of the day that he realized what’d happened.

NBC News Productions

Staggering Discovery

To explain more on that front, Harris spoke to NBC in February 2013. “When I finally decided to leave, I got on my bike and dumped the change into my hand,” he recalled. “And there was the ring.” That must’ve been so surreal – you don’t normally find diamond jewelry mixed in with loose coins!

NBC News Productions

Questioned Its Authenticity

Then again, Harris wasn’t jumping for joy at that point. Why? Well, he didn’t believe that the diamonds were genuine. And we can understand his doubts. After all, would someone be so generous that they’d willingly drop a valuable ring into a homeless man’s cup? It seems highly unlikely.

WPRI / YouTube

An Expensive Giveaway

At the same time, though, Harris weighed up the other side of the argument as well. Speaking to KCTV, he said, “The ring was so big [that] I knew if it was real, it had to be expensive.” Keeping that in mind, the panhandler decided to visit a pawn shop to have it examined.

NBC News Productions

Pawn Shop Evaluation

And Harris was hit with a jaw-dropping valuation. “[The ring] was really worth some money,” the Kansas City resident informed NBC. “Worth enough that [the appraiser] was ready to give me four grand right there on the spot.” Yep, you’re reading that correctly: $4,000. Wow!

WPRI / YouTube

Critical Decision

Think of the things Harris could’ve done with that kind of money. But that brings us to the key question: did he cash in? Would you? The idea certainly crossed his mind, but that’s as far as it got. To shed some additional light on the decision, he opened up to KCTV.

NBC News Productions

Driven By Good Character

“My grandfather was a reverend,” Harris revealed. “He raised [me] from the time I was six months old, and thank the good Lord. It’s a blessing but I do still have some character.” You can’t argue with that – not everyone would leave $4,000 on the table if they were in his situation.

NBC News Productions

Realized The Ring Was Missing

While that was going on, though, Darling still had no idea that the band was missing. In fact, she only noticed it was gone around 24 hours later. Unsurprisingly, that discovery hit her hard. “It was horrible,” she recalled. “It was such a feeling of loss. It meant so much to me beyond just the financial value.”

WPRI / YouTube

Retraced Her Steps

Mind you, Darling didn’t just accept defeat at that stage. Once she realized what’d happened, she returned to Harris’ preferred area on the sidewalk in Kansas City that same day. He didn’t seem to be around, though. So she gave it another crack on the Sunday, leading to a big moment.

WPRI / YouTube

Returned At Last

Yes, Darling and Harris were reunited on the street, and the former later recalled their conversation to KCTV. She explained, “I asked him, ‘I don’t know if you remember me, but I think I gave you something that’s very precious to me.’ And he says, ‘Was it a ring? Yeah, I have it, I kept it for you.’”

NBC News Productions

An Easy Fix

Just like that, with a minimum of fuss, Darling got her band back. And to say she was delighted would be a huge understatement! But this remarkable story didn’t end here. Far from it. You see, Harris’ life was about to change in a major way thanks to his principled actions.

NBC News Productions

Organized A Reward

It all started when Darling and Krejci looked to reward Harris for his good deed. So they created an appeal on the website giveforward.com. She informed Today, “We set a goal for $1,000. We set it up because a lot of people who had been touched by the story expressed interest in helping Billy Ray.”

WPRI / YouTube

His Actions Spoke To Many

After that, the contributions started to pour in at a stunning pace. And as the total kept ticking over, the comments on the website from those who’d parted with their money were equally eye-catching. Darling wasn’t exaggerating when she said folks were “touched” by Harris’ actions.

WPRI / YouTube

Messages From Well-Wishers

For instance, a British couple wrote, “In life what goes around comes around. Billy – your sweet actions, despite being in dire straits yourself, prove that there is humility in the world. You are one shining example. Lots of love from across the pond.” They added $20 to the total. And the kind-hearted messages certainly didn’t end there.

WPRI / YouTube

Paying It Forward

Another patron revealed that they could relate to losing something priceless. “Several years ago, my mother’s ring was stolen from my house,” they explained. “To this day, I recall the empty feeling in the pit of my stomach. Hopefully, your honest example will encourage others to pay it forward. Kudos to you, Billy Ray!” That led to a $10 donation.

NBC News Productions

Greater Opportunities Awaited

Anyway, by late February 2013 Darling and Krejci’s fundraiser had flown past the original goal. Incredibly, the total reached more than $100,000. Nope, that’s not a typo! Unbelievable, right? To think Harris could’ve walked away with $4,000 if he cashed in on the ring. He would’ve missed this outpouring of love and support.

NBC News Productions

Newfound Friendship

From there, Krejci contacted Harris to discuss what was happening, opening the door to friendship. He informed giveforward.com, “We talked about a lot of things related to my family’s ring and the many donations. We talked about one day in the future [it] may be passed down to my daughter. We talked about how insanely positive all this has been.”

NBC News Productions

Life-Changing Sum

When all was said and done, the page brought in over $190,000 across a three-month period. That really is a life-changing sum of money. Harris went on to consult a legal representative, who placed the cash into a trust account. And once that was sorted, he got spending!

NBC News Productions

A Brand New Life

Yes, Harris purchased an automobile and a new place to call home. Those nights spent under the bridge were a thing of the past now. On top of that, the former panhandler was looking to renovate the property with his own hands, too. He didn’t plan to rest on his laurels. But the biggest shock was still to come.

NBC News Productions

Reconnected With Family

Thanks to the television coverage of this story, Harris’ family discovered his whereabouts. You see, they’d lost contact with him for more than a decade. And their attempts to locate the guy were only made harder by rumblings that he’d passed away. That obviously wasn’t the case, though, and the group came back together in a highly emotional moment.

NBC News Productions

Bright Future

According to Harris, he was aiming to smooth things over with his relieved relatives after the reunion. They had a lot of catching up to do! Talking to Today in September 2013, the Kansas City resident said, “When I think of the past, I think, ‘Thank God that it’s over.’ I mean, I feel human now.”

NBC News Productions

Feeling Gratitude

Harris then beamed, “This is what they call the American Dream. I want to thank all the people that helped me out. I want them to see where all their efforts, blessings and kindness is going.” Speaking of which, he’s also got a cast-iron relationship with the two people who made this all possible: Darling and Krejci.

NBC News Productions

Well Deserved

And from Darling’s perspective, the end result couldn’t have turned out much better. She told Today, “Overall, it just makes me feel good. A lot of people came together to change this person’s life when he’s someone who really deserves that.”

NBC News Productions