National News

Lost and found memories: Salem Goodwill discovery leads to return of family photos

Posted January 2, 2018 12:01 p.m. EST

— A man in Salem made it his mission to find the owner of a micro SD card he found in a Goodwill bin in Salem, after discovering it was carrying sentimental family photos.

Less than 24 hours later, Charlie Kline found the woman it belongs to: Melissa Cortez from Amity.

Cortez told FOX 12 she lost her phone with the chip in it in May 2016.

She said she had lost all hope until she met Kline.

"I thought it was gone forever," Cortez said Monday.

Kline and his mother, Marie Barham, go hunting for holiday trinkets every year. Kline said the search is usually done at the Goodwill outlet on Portland Road Northeast in Salem.

Kline said on New Year's Eve he found a small treasure that caught his eye.

"I started to dig down in one of the bottom of these things and got into a pile of this right here, but it was pretty substantial. I brushed it aside and there's a little micro SD chip," Kline said.

This Goodwill location charges by weight, so the chip was worth less than a penny there. But it was priceless to its owner.

Kline said after finding photos of a newborn baby, he had to get it back to the rightful owner.

"To lose those things is hard on a parent. So when I saw an opportunity to get this back to the people it belonged to, I couldn't pass this up," he said.

Kline called Cortez and she came to the Goodwill, along with her husband and two of their children, to meet him 24 hours after he bought the SD card.

"I'm really glad I could help," Kline said as they hugged.

"You don't know how much it means. We don't have a lot in life, but what we have is precious," Cortez said.

Cortez's daughter, Sofia, turns 3 years old next month. Her newborn baby pictures were the ones on the SD card, and may have been lost forever if it wasn't for Kline.

"I'm so happy for that family to have those memories back…It's the most fulfilling thing I could possibly start my year with. And I don't even know how I'm gonna recap over that. How do you follow this up?" Kline said.

Cortez tells FOX 12 there are also pictures of her grandmother on the SD card, who has since died.

"To have all these pictures, cause I can't get those back. It's amazing," she said.