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Teen, 16, Buys Repossessed Storage Units So Families Can Retrieve Their Belongings

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Teen, 16, Buys Repossessed Storage Units So Families Can Retrieve Their Belongings

A teenager bought back repossessed storage units so families would be able to retrieve their belongings.

Shane Jones, from Rhode Island, US, had been purchasing units as a way of making some extra money over the summer, but soon realised that he didn't feel right profiting from the loss of others.

And so the 16-year-old got to work helping return the items in the former storage units to three families.

Speaking to The Washington Post, Shane 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.

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"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."

In the United States, storage units can be auctioned off when the renter stops paying for them.

And in August last year, Shane bid $100 for a unit in Providence near his home - and won.

Shane had been trying to make some extra cash but realised he had a duty to return the items. Credit: Sarah Markey
Shane had been trying to make some extra cash but realised he had a duty to return the items. Credit: Sarah Markey
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"I realised then that this wasn't the same as getting stuff at a yard sale," he said.

"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."

Shane and his parents eventually tracked down the man's mum, who was living in a retirement home nearby. And she was over the moon to have been reunited with her son's possessions.

The teenager then moved onto his next unit, which he picked up for just $50 two months later and belonged to an elderly couple.

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"The couple who rented the locker had passed away, but there was a phone number for their brother-in-law, and he was happy to come out and get everything," said Shane.

"He said there were a lot of family heirlooms that could have been lost."

The final unit was purchased in January this year and belonged to a woman who had failed to make the rent after losing her job. Shane also discovered that she had lost a child to sudden infant death syndrome a few years earlier.

He tracked down three previous owners and made sure they got their items back. Credit: Sarah Markey
He tracked down three previous owners and made sure they got their items back. Credit: Sarah Markey
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When she came to pick her items up, the woman started to cry.

Shane said: "All of her baby items and all of her childhood photos were in the storage locker.

"[She] said everything she had to remind her of her baby was in that locker, and she just didn't have the finances to keep up with the payments."

Shane's mum Sarah Markey said she 'couldn't be prouder' of her son for helping reunite these people with their lost possessions.

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She said: "Kindness inspires kindness. Buying the contents of a storage unit and giving them back is a creative way to pay it forward.

"Shane hopes that somebody else will get the idea to do the same thing in their own town."

Shane's school also praised the teen, with South Kingstown principal Chip McGair telling The Washington Post: "We're delighted to see one of our students doing such a wonderful thing."

In a post to Facebook, a spokesperson for South Kingstown School District said: "Thank you, Shane, for your kindness, compassion and efforts for others."

Featured Image Credit: Sarah Markey

Topics: Inspirational, US News, Facebook, auction

Dominic Smithers
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