Source: Shutterstock

Poor Woman Buys Broken Dresser at Flea Market & Old Envelope with Photo inside Falls Out of It – Story of the Day

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By Roshanak Hannani
Apr 08, 2022
12:00 P.M.

Sarah went through a harsh divorce and had to start from scratch. She bought furniture from flea markets and garage sales to fit her apartment, but one, in particular, was different. It had an old envelope of shocking photographs hidden between the drawers, and she had to find out the truth.


Sarah woke abruptly from her deep sleep to the sight of the floor of her new one-bedroom apartment. She was sleeping on an old mattress on the floor and didn't have much else to her name.

After a nasty divorce, where her ex-husband took everything because he had a better lawyer and more money, she was left on her own at 44 years old. She had no other family in the world, as she was orphaned from an early age.

Sarah bought a dresser at a flea market. | Source: Shutterstock


Luckily, she was able to use her meager savings to rent a small place in New Jersey and got a new job as a cleaning lady at a high school. It wasn't much, but she had mistakenly trusted her ex-husband to take care of her, and he left her for someone younger and prettier.

Sometimes, she still couldn't believe it. But she was free to do things independently, and she wasn't doing too bad. The landlord knew great places where people sold used cheap furniture, and she was slowly saving up to buy several things.

"Wait for a second, please," Sarah said, holding the envelope back and reaching inside. "Do you know these people?" She showed him the picture of the little girl and her mother.


It was a slow process, but at the end of it, she would be standing on her own two feet, and no one would ever be able to take it away from her.


"Mr. Crinkle! Hey! I've got some savings now, and I'm going to the flea market," Sarah said to her landlord with a bright smile.

"That's great. But be careful out there. Always negotiate the price. Never go for the first number they tell you. People over there like customers who haggle and know the value of money. They'll respect you for it," Mr. Crinkle replied, looking up from his clipboard. He was inspecting the building for something, although Sarah didn't ask.


Sarah browsed through the flea market. | Source: Pexels

"Thank you, Mr. Crinkle. I'll do just that!"

Sarah reached the flea market and started browsing around. Nothing really seemed enticing enough to take home, and many items were pretty damaged, but she stopped at the vendors and asked around for old furniture.


Finally, she reached an old man who had a dresser next to his stand. "How much for this, sir?" Sarah asked, trying not to sound too enthusiastic.

The piece of furniture looked awful, but it wasn't broken. It only needed some tender, love, care, and a fresh coat of paint.  

The old man looked at her, pursing his lips. "Hmmm, I'll sell it for $100," he replied.

Sarah pursed her own lips and looked thoughtful. "That's a steep price, sir. Can you do any better?"

"$90?" the man offered.

"How about $65? I'll have to spend at least $20 more repairing it. It's going to be some work," Sarah countered, and the man smiled at her.


"Hmmm. I don't know," the man thought, clearly appreciating this chance to haggle. "It's still in good condition. How about $80?"

Sarah haggled with the seller. | Source: Pexels


"$75 and you help me get it home," Sarah offered at least, and the man smiled at her.

"Deal. Do you live nearby, young lady?" he asked, his mouth still smiling.

Sarah nodded and he said he would take the dresser later in the day. She thanked him and went on her way. The cabinet would be perfect for her house, and she could even use it as a counter while she saved for a proper kitchen table. Furthermore, she could finally store some of her clothes, which were still in boxes around the apartment.


"Thank you, sir," Sarah said, bidding goodbye to the man from the flea market who drove his truck to deliver her purchase. He even brought it to her apartment, although it wasn't that heavy.


"You can call me Mr. Hans. Everyone does. Thank you, miss. Come buy from me again!" he called out and drove away.

On her way back from the flea market, Sarah stopped at a hardware store to buy some paint and everything else she needed to give this dresser a new look. She opened her apartment window and got started.

There was something hidden in the dresser. | Source: Pexels


First, she decided to sand some areas that probably got damaged with time. But it wasn't a big deal. She cleaned it because someone had drawn many doodles on it, too, which suggested that a family had owned this. Somehow, that gave Sarah hope.

But something made her stop her work. One of the drawers was not coming out quickly. It was stuck as if something was between it and the shelves. Sarah knelt and looked under the drawer, spotting an envelope wedged tightly in there. She grabbed the handle of the drawer harder and pulled, making the envelope fall out.

"Oh, that man must have forgotten that they hid something inside it. I'll go tomorrow and give it back," Sarah said to herself while holding the envelope in her hands. But curiosity got the best of her, and she decided to open it.


Luckily, it was not sealed, and she pulled the contents out easily. Several photographs spilled out, and Sarah sat on the floor to admire them. She loved people's memories for some reason, especially if they were from family vacations, and these images showed precisely that. A woman was with her daughter, but when she looked intently at the photo, she noticed something odd.

Sarah inquired with vendors at the market regarding Mr. Hans' whereabouts. | Source: Pexels


The little girl in the picture looked exactly like her when she was little. It was more than a coincidence. It had to be her because she had a birthmark on her head that made a piece of her hair entirely blonde. She always covered it with hair dye as an adult because it stood out in contrast with her brunette locks.

She turned the image in her hands and saw that someone had written, "Jennifer and her daughter, Sarah. 1982."

It was impossible. Sarah had no family. She had no memories of this vacation or that woman who was supposed to be her mother. But it was unmistakably her in the image. It was a miracle.

She had to find out more. That man must have all the answers to her many questions now. But it was too late to go to the flea market again.


She placed the photos back into the envelope and finished working on the dresser, painting it, and letting it dry overnight.

The following day, she went back to the flea market, but the man who had sold her the dresser was not around. After asking some of the other vendors, they told her he only came a few days a week. But she returned several times over the next few days, and he was no longer there.

She took a deep breath in front of Mr. Hans' house. | Source: Pexels


Sarah was beginning to think the man was a figment of her imagination when an older lady who sold earrings told her something. "Mr. Hans has been sick for the past few days. I talked to him yesterday. What do you need him for?"

"I really need to speak to him about something. He sold me a dresser recently, and I found something important inside. Can you tell me his address?" Sarah begged, not managing to hide her desperation.

"Sure. He's actually nearby," the older lady revealed, and she thanked her profusely for the favor.


Sarah took a deep breath in front of Mr. Hans' house and walked to the front door. She had no idea what she was about to find out but was excited about the prospect of finding her family.


"Hello," Mr. Hans greeted her at the door. He looked a little sick still and crouched after greeting her.

"Hello, Mr. Hans. I'm Sarah. I bought a dresser from you the other day," she answered with an awkward smile.

"Of course. What can I do for you, young lady?" he asked, wondering why Sarah had come to his house.

She shocked Mr. Hans. | Source: Pexels


"I found something lodged in between the drawers of the dresser. An envelope. It had a bunch of pictures of people. I thought they would be important to you," Sarah started, and Mr. Hans nodded.

"Oh my God, I can't believe I forgot about those pictures," Mr. Hans commented, his hand going to his forehead. He looked at the envelope in her hands and reached for it. "Thank you for bringing it back."

"Wait a second, please," Sarah said, holding the envelope back and reaching inside. "Do you know these people?" She showed him the picture of the little girl and her mother.

"Yes, that's my niece and her daughter," Mr. Hans revealed, grabbing the photo and staring intently.


"What happened to them?"

"How do you know something happened?"

"Because I'm the girl in the image. I'm Sarah. It’s me," she revealed, and Mr. Hans' eyes widened.

"What?" he whispered. "That's impossible."

"It's true. It has to be. Because I have the same birthmark that makes that section of my hair turn yellow. Of course, I cover it now, and I have several gray hairs now. But if I stop dyeing, you could see it," Sarah explained.

Several people began to arrive. | Source: Pexels


Mr. Hans gestured for her to come inside, and they sat down. He looked at her with wonder and seemed to get emotional as he spoke.

"Jennifer died in a car accident the year that picture was taken. She lived in New York. Her brother, Simon, was supposed to bring Sarah — you — back here, but she got lost at Grand Central Station. It was a disaster," Mr. Hans explained. "The police couldn’t locate you, and they told us you might have been sent to an orphanage. We tried asking around, but no one had answers for us. Eventually, we stopped. We shouldn't have stopped."

Sarah was crying by the time Mr. Hans finished speaking. "So, you're my great-uncle?"


"If you're really this Sarah, yes," he answered, choking in the last word.

"And I have other family?"

"Yes! You have tons of family who waited decades to see you again. Dear God! How is this possible?" he wondered, looking at the sky and marveling at this turn of events. "I have to call Simon."

Mr. Hans got up and made a few calls. After a few minutes, several people started arriving, and they all greeted Sarah with ranging emotions, first tears, and then excitement that she had returned.

Finally, Simon arrived and took one long look at Sarah, who smiled tentatively at him. "Do you remember me?" he asked.


Her family helped her out, and she was never alone again. | Source: Pexels

"I'm sorry, no. I don’t remember anything from my childhood," Sarah answered, feeling apologetic.


"Don't worry. We're going to change that," Simon replied and pulled her for a tight hug.

They chatted about her life, and when her family learned what happened and were made aware of her current living conditions, they all volunteered to help.

They helped her find a better apartment with similar rent, and they gave her all kinds of furniture. Mr. Hans even built her a brand new kitchen table, so she would never have to sit on the floor.

They told her stories of her mother, although they didn't know who her father was. But Sarah was fine. These people embraced her into the family immediately and never asked for anything. After a few months, she decided to stop dyeing her hair and showed them her birthmark.


That was all the confirmation they needed that she was the same Sarah as the one in the picture.

What can we learn from this story?

  • You can get back up from anything. After her divorce, Sarah was left with nothing and had to start from scratch. But she was doing it and persevering through it.
  • Don't abandon people in need, especially your family. When her family learned of her situation, they joined forces to help her out.

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If you enjoyed this story, you might like this one about two daughters who discovered that their father left everything to someone else's children.

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