Apr 10, 2023

Treasure — and faith — restored

A local garage sale shopper returned a treasure to the family that accidentally sold it.

One family's faith in the character of local residents was strengthened thanks to the generosity of a local man, they said.

In early May, Redeana Gamble and her mother, DeLois Thouvenel-Martinez, held a garage sale at her sister, Ronda Burrell's home, just a few doors down from theirs in Sharpsburg, Gamble said. Gamble and Thouvenel-Martinez, a widow since 2014, were cleaning out the house. Family had recently moved to the area from California, so they had a lot of help, Gamble said.

Eddie Martinez, her stepfather, was a world traveler and had collected lots of things, Gamble said. They decided to sell a number of his items at the garage sale.

"He was someone who just liked to collect things, and apparently hide them," she said.

About a week after the garage sale, a man started appearing on her sister's doorbell camera footage, a stranger who visited a few times, she said. They didn't think much of it until about three weeks after the garage sale, the man showed up at Gamble's and her mother's home. Her sister's neighbor had told him that family members lived there.

The stranger turned out to be the man who bought her stepfather's shoe shine kit, Gamble said.

Unbeknownst to them, there was treasure in that kit. There was a hidden compartment in the bottom of the kit and inside was a bag full of old coins. The face value of the coins added up to about $100, but they believe they are probably worth more, Gamble said.

Gamble and her mother were shocked — so shocked they didn't get the man's name. They just took the coins and thanked him, Gamble said.

"It made (Thouvenel-Martinez) cry," Gamble said. "Not just because it was Eddie's, but because there was some honesty there."

So the next day, they reached out to The Newnan Times-Herald, hoping that the man, to whom they are extremely grateful, might see how much his actions meant to them.

"For him to take the time, several times, to try to return it," Gamble said. "He went above and beyond, I think."

Laura Camper is a general assignment reporter for The Newnan Times-Herald.