On February 1, 2022 a man walked into the Boutique…no this is not the start of a joke, and said…
“Are you Patricia?”
“Yes,” I responded cautiously
“I need to talk to you,” he replied, “My name is Bill”
“Hi Bill,” I answered pleasantly, “What would you like to talk about?”
“It needs to be in private,” he stated
“Oh- kay,” I said slowly and starting to feel a bit anxious, “Why don’t you come back into my office? We can talk there”
Bill followed me in, took a seat and reached over to close the door. He is a white man probably in his later 60’s, dressed like a local in jeans and a button down shirt. A nice looking man with a pleasant voice so I didn’t feel scared, but I was curious. Thank goodness one of my Volunteers Dianne was working with me that day and was in the room next to the office.
“I am nervous about what I am going to tell you, “Bill began . I sat watching him and wondering what he was going to tell me. A million things swirled around my brain, but nothing seemed like an obvious topic.
“I do many things,” Bill explained “One of them is mess around with computers and over 2 years ago I bought a hard drive from Kiwanis Thrift Store” ( A very popular and local thrift marketplace)
I nodded focusing on his words which so far weren’t making any sense to me.
“On this hard drive I found thousands of pictures along with files, a resume, invoices.” Bill continued his story, “There were so many files, in fact there were 19,000 and I just had a feeling these were someone’s pictures that had been donated by mistake”
“I went back to Kiwanis to see who donated the hard drive and of course they didn’t know,” he said, “I felt they were important to keep so I backed up all 19,000 files on a 100 giga bite thumb drive. I put them away hoping one day I would find the owner of these pictures”
“So a couple of weeks ago I was going to Puppy Luv (the store next to my Boutique) and walked by and saw a copy of your Book outside for display. I recognized the girl on the cover, and I am 100% confident I have your daughter Courtney’s hard drive and all her pictures!”
While he was talking, I started to have an out of body experience, I thought this can’t be true, I thought how did he get her hard drive?
“How can you be sure it’s her?” I asked stunned and in disbelief
Bill had tears in his eyes, “Unless she has a twin, I am sure this is her. The hairs on my arms are sticking up, I just know this is the same girl. I am so sorry I didn’t know she passed away and I am beyond happy to give you this thumb drive with thousands of pictures she took with her phone”
“I don’t know what to say,” I managed to respond, now with tears in my eyes. “Are you certain it’s her?” I asked again holding the thumb drive in my hand
“Her resume was there; did she work in Canada? There are wedding pictures too, was she married?” He asked
“Yes, Courtney was born and lived most of her life in Canada and yes she was married for a while” I answered feeling like he was a medium who was able to see my past.
“I don’t know what to say, if it’s Courtney, this is the most incredible gift I’ve ever received,” I added my voice choking up, “I had just said to myself on her birthday in January that I would run out of pictures to share and now you are giving me thousands of pictures I’ve never seen!”
After we exchanged numbers and had a tearful hug, I safely put the thumb drive in my purse and raced home, all the way thinking, “How can this be her? How would Bill have all her pictures?”
I walked in the house, grabbed my computer, and stuck the stick in the usb port and opened pages of files and albums. I clicked on the first file and it opened hundreds of jpg files. I clicked on the first one and there was her dog Bryer, I went to the second picture and there she was, Courtney’s beautiful face smiling at me. I started to cry. I was so emotionally choked up.
I immediately sent Bill a text saying “It’s her, It’s Courtney! I don’t even know how to thank you!”
“You can’t and you shouldn’t,” he text back, “ I had someone do me a great favor and when I tried to repay her she said , ‘ the world would be a better place if every good deed was passed on to someone else. So do good works in exchange for good things done for you.’ She was right and when you looked at me today and wondered why I had saved those pics you were hearing her words to me. I am just thrilled this worked out”
What I found, 7 years of Courtney’s life from her perspective. Thousands of pictures and videos, some in albums, some in random files and hundreds of selfies!”
What I got, a miracle! Seeing Courtney and her life through her lens is unbelievable, indescribable and the most unexpected and amazing gift ever.
Thank you, Bill, for finding and saving these pictures. Thank you, Courtney, for backing up such a big slice of your life on an external hard drive. Thank you God for your love, your blessing and the best present a mother could have…Photos sent from heaven!