Shane Jones is a sixteen-year-old Sophomore in Rhode Island. Like many other teens, Shane’s hobby is collecting things. He likes to collect coins, bottles, and small metal trinkets. Shane frequented garage and yard sales, looking for small antiques to add to his collection. For him, it was a treasure hunt.
When the pandemic struck, yard sales disappeared. Through YouTube, Shane learned about storage locker auctions. When people rent storage lockers and stop paying the bill, the rental agreement allows the storage locker facility, after providing an opportunity to catch up the rent, to sell the contents of the locker at auction. Usually, what happens is that those interested in the auction gather, and the auctioneer opens the storage locker door for a few minutes, and the prospective buyers get to glance at the contents of the locker. They then bid on the contents and the highest bid wins whatever may be in the locker. It can be a bit of a gamble. Sometimes you can see something concrete like bicycles, other times it is nothing but closed boxes, with no clue as to the contents.
Shane was intrigued by this, the gamble was part of the allure. Shane spent $100 on winning his first auction. When he started going through the contents, some personal memorabilia, boxes of records, and other personal items, it dawned on Shane that this stuff belonged to someone else. It was like a yard sale where the person put the item up for sale, this was stuff that a person lost because they couldn’t pay the bill. Instead of feeling good for his find, he felt bad for the people who had lost their stuff.
Shane went through the boxes of documents, and although he could not find the owner, he was able to find the owner’s mother, who was living in a retirement home. Shane gave the mother her son’s belongings so that they could be returned to him.
He felt pretty good about this, so Shane purchased another storage locker at auction, using money he had earned the summer before. This was a larger unit, and he found that many of the boxes contained family heirlooms. Again, using the contents to track down the owner, Shane found the owner’s brother and provided him with the contents of the locker, including the heirlooms. The brother was so happy to get these family items back as well as his brother’s stuff, he tried to pay Shane, who refused. Shane wasn’t doing it for money, he was into it for the kindness.
The third locker Shane bought at auction contained a lot of baby items. He was able to track down the owner, whose baby had died very young. She had fallen on hard times and could no longer afford the rent on the storage locker. The items in the locker were the woman’s only connection to her baby, and she cried when Shane contacted her and told her he was going to return her items. Shane said the woman was extremely grateful to get the items returned to her.
Shane is planning on spending this summer going to more auctions and trying to help other people get their belongings back.
“I don’t mind doing this when I have the funds. It’s not mine. They didn’t purposely give it to me, so why let other people suffer as I succeed?” says Shane. What a great attitude and a huge heart.