Woman buys vintage film projector from thrift store, discovers stranger’s precious memories inside

She determinedly tracks the family down and is finally able to return their pictures to them
July 27, 2018 11:32 am Last Updated: July 27, 2018 11:32 am

After a woman got a good deal on a vintage film projector from a thrift store, she realized there was something inside that no one could put a price on.

Recently Kristie Baeumert picked up the old projector from a Goodwill store in Tyrone, Georgia, for $15. But she soon realized the projector came with slides—and those slides contained a stranger’s precious memories.

“I looked at it as soon as I got in the car and I could see that they were family pictures,” Baeumert told CBS News.

Kristie Baeumert with a vintage projector she purchased from a Goodwill store. (Screenshot via YouTube/CBS Chicago)

The family photos told an intriguing story. They seemed to be dated around the 1960s, and the photos were taken all over the world—happy photos of well-dressed children.

The photos also notably featured families of different races together. The clues indicated that the photos belonged to a military family.

“Maybe they were stationed together and that’s how they became friends and were hanging out and taking pictures of one another,” Baeumert guessed.

An image of one of the slides Baeumert found in the projector. (Screenshot via YouTube/CBS Chicago)

Going through this treasure trove of old memories, Baeumert became more and more determined to track the family down and return their photos.

“I love these pictures, I feel like I know this family at this point,” she said.

Unfortunately, there was very little to go off of; the box of slides was only labeled “Kansas.” But Baeumert kept up the search, posting the photos on Facebook hoping it would reach the family somehow.

“I’ve heard from people from all over the world at this point,” Baeumert said. “I really hope that I get that moment to hand them over.”

Another image from the slides. (Screenshot via YouTube/CBS Chicago)

Amazingly, after the Facebook post was shared over a thousand times and her story was aired on the CBS evening news, Baeumert finally found the family.

In July, she finally met the photo subjects whom she knew so well already: 88-year-old Theda Robertson and her daughters, Deborah and Treva. They had not seen these photos in 20 years.

“It brings back all the memories that we had as children,” Deborah told CBS News.

The slides’ owners, Theda Robertson (Center) and her two daughters, with Baeumert (R). (Screenshot via YouTube/CBS Chicago)

The women met and went through the old photos, reliving long-ago memories they never thought they’d see again. The Robertsons thanked Baeumert for making it all happen.

“You did not give up, and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts,” Treva told her.

A slide of the Robertsons from the collection. (Screenshot via YouTube/CBS Chicago)

Baeumert even gave the family back their old projector. She was happy she was able to do something nice for the family—all thanks to a $15 thrift store find.

“They are just as happy and joyful and it’s such a great story just the way I thought it would be,” Baeumert said.

Beaumert and Deborah Robertson hug. (Screenshot via YouTube/CBS Chicago)