Teen Buys Repossessed Storage Units Purely To Return Items To Original Owners

When we watch shows like Storage Wars, it's easy to get into the speculative side of what we can consider modern treasure hunting.

Since nobody who bids on a repossessed storage unit knows what's going to be in there, there can be some real excitement in the suspenseful moments before they discover whether they just bought something valuable or not.

However, that rush also makes it easy to forget that for that unit to be repossessed, somebody had to stop paying their storage fees. And since they presumably wanted their stuff enough to keep it in storage, it's more likely that they simply couldn't pay whether they wanted to or not.

And while that reality brings a sad undercurrent to something that might otherwise seem fun, it also inspired a Rhode Island teen to do something positive for those who didn't have a say in where their possessions go.

When 16-year-old Shane Jones was looking to earn some extra cash last summer, he happened upon some YouTube videos explaining how to make money by bidding on storage units.

As he told The Washington Post, he happened to have some money from working at a used book store.

So he put in a bid of $100 at a Providence storage auction and was surprised to see that he had won.

As he said, "I started out thinking that bidding at a storage auction was kind of like a yard sale, but now I know that’s not true."

And he came to that realization as soon as he saw the contents of the unit.

Because rather than rare Pokémon cards or antiques, Jones found household items, stuffed animals, personal mementos, and documents that showed who the original owner was.

In Jones' words, "This guy was in prison, and his storage unit was auctioned off because he couldn’t afford to pay for it. This was probably everything he had left."

So with some help from his parents, Jones tracked down the owner's mother and offered to give it all back to her.

She was ecstatic and grateful that he had done this, which led him to start entering other auctions just so he could do it all again.

For his second storage unit, he only needed $50 to enter a winning bid and once again was able to find an address book indicating the unit's original owner.

Although the couple who rented the unit had passed away, he was able to find a brother-in-law through this book who was just as just as relieved to get the items inside back.

As Jones put it, "He said there were a lot of family heirlooms that could have been lost."

After the third time Jones did this, word of his generosity started to spread at school.

As South Kingstown High School Principal Chip McGair said, "We’re delighted to see one of our students doing such a wonderful thing."

And while Jones' mom said the extra attention has been a little overwhelming for him, he's also hoping that his idea inspires others to show similar kindness within their communities.

In his words, "These people didn’t choose to give me this stuff. They didn’t have a choice. It’s almost like a duty to give it back."

h/t: The Washington Post