WAKEFIELD, R.I. (WJAR/Meredith) -- It is said that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure, but when one teen started buying abandoned storage units as a hobby, he quickly realized he could turn it into acts of kindness.
There’s a lot of wonder in Wakefield, Rhode Island at 16-year-old Shane Jones’ home. Almost anywhere you look, he has an assortment of antiques.
"I go to yard sales. I metal detect,” he said. “I like recovering things like that."
Typically he buys his treasures right from their original owner. Then he saw a YouTube tutorial on purchasing abandoned storage lockers. He was soon hooked.
"You have a certain amount of time to bid on it,” Jones said. “I worked last summer, just used what I got from that.”
A few months ago, he purchased a unit in Providence, Rhode Island, but instead of feeling excited to see what he’s just bought, he was sad when reality set in as to why it was there in the first place.
"This isn't something like yard sales where they gave it to me and sold it to me, this is like where their stuff was taken because they couldn't pay it,” Jones said.
So, using names and information found abandoned in boxes, he tracked down a woman in a nursing home and gifted the items in the storage unit, things that belonged to her son, back to her.
"It was good, I liked it," Jones said.
Next, he bought one in Narragansett.
“It actually had family heirlooms in it,” Jones said.
Once again, he solved the mystery of who originally owned it, and returned the items back to them.
"They were all very happy, tried to offer me money but I didn't accept it,” Jones said. “It was something to do and it was nice."
To keep the joy going, he bought one in Johnston. It belonged to a woman from Connecticut who fell on hard times after her baby passed away.
She sent messages to Jones after everything she had to remember her child in that unit was returned to her.
"Really a lot of gratitude, like she was just really happy,” Jones said.
Jones said he doesn’t mind spending his hard-earned money to help others because his gesture is priceless.
"It's not mine, why let other people suffer as I succeed?” he said.
With his sophomore year at high school complete, Jones said he plans to devote his summer to his new hobby and no doubt help more strangers along the way.