Colorado thrift store tracks down man after he mistakenly donated briefcase of family heirlooms

Arc Thrift Store
Posted at 10:59 AM, Mar 11, 2022

ARVADA, Colo. — ARVADA, Colo. — Inheriting an estate can be exhausting. With so much to take care of and so many items to donate, things can slip through the cracks.

Josef Garrett found that out the hard way. The adjunct professor at Colorado State University thought he was donating a typewriter to a local thrift store. As it turns out, he had mistakenly given away an heirloom container that was holding dozens of letters and family photos dating back 80 years.

After donating dozens of items, Garrett says he received a call from the folks at Arc Thrift Store in Arvada.

"[They] said, 'We've got letters from three generations, going back.' And I said, 'Oh, that was a mistake.'"

That's when he found out the briefcase was full of hand-written letters and photographs. His grandmother wrote one of those letters to his great-parents, describing the days before she gave birth to his father.

As an anthropology professor, but more importantly, as a family man, Garrett says he's just relieved to get a piece of history back.

"Reading some of these letters, I started thinking about, like, oh, this is why this is happening," he said. "This is how I came to be who I am today because of the action of my grandparents and my parents. It's really kind of cool to be able to think about that when it all could have been lost."

This story was originally published by Danny New on Scripps station KMGH in Denver.