A photographer named Aila (@fairyonfilm) recently stumbled upon a treasure trove of family memories hidden inside a random purchase she made at a local thrift store. And now, she’s made it her mission to track down the people it belongs to so she can return it.
According to her recent TikTok, Aila bought a disposable camera in 2006 at a second-hand store in Stone Mountain, Ga. She could see right away that all of the photos had been taken already, but just out of curiosity, she wanted to get it home and develop it herself to see what was actually on it.
“i was nervous that the photos wouldn’t come out because the film was so expired,” Aila admitted in the video text.
But lo and behold, the photos came out perfectly, despite the film being 17 years old.
“negatives were very dark but definitely have photos on them!” Aila shared before showcasing just some of the many photos she developed from the camera.
Turns out, the snapshots may have been taken at someone’s twenty-first birthday party. They show various family members hanging out in a living room, gathering around the cake and hugging and laughing as they celebrate their relative’s milestone birthday.
In other words, it’s pretty clear that these would be treasured memories for any family to look back on — especially an event they hadn’t seen in 17 years and likely forgot existed.
“i rly hope someone who sees this recognizes the people in these photos!” Aila captioned the post before sharing it on TikTok last week.
Since then, more than 4.3 million people have watched the video, drawing some serious interest from near and far.
“we have to find the owner!! these are awesome photos,” wrote one commenter.
“they’d be turning 37 this year,” said another. “I hope you find them!”
Others simply couldn’t get over how heartwarming the random find truly was.
“This is like a joyous little time capsule,” wrote one person.
“i love seeing people’s old memories,” wrote another.
As days passed by, people continued to hope for a TikTok miracle.
“Algorithm do ya thing FOR THESE BEAUTIFUL ANGELS,” one person proclaimed in the comments.
Before long, it started to look like finding the owners was a definite possibility.
“THIS IS MY COUSINNNN OMGGGGGG,” one commenter wrote.
“I KNOW THEM!” added another. “Somebody just forwarded me this video! I’ll get it to them!”
Whether or not these comments are for real, however, remains unclear. Aila has yet to post an update about the disposable camera or its owners, even though many users are waiting with bated breath.
After all, this sort of thing wouldn’t be totally out of the question.
TikTokers have posted similar thrift store finds in the past and reunited previous owners with their long-lost things. In fact, TikTok once helped reunite one man with a lost family video shot in 1989 for a story that made national headlines.
There have also been crazy tales of people walking into thrift stores and finding unexpected family memories of their own — like the woman who bought a camera at a Goodwill in Arizona only to find photos of her dad on it. Or the woman who went to an antique warehouse five towns away and found a portrait of her mother that she painted as a child. (Pretty wild, huh?)
Here’s hoping Aila’s video reaches enough people to help her reunite the photos with their proper owners. Something tells us they’d truly love to see these memories.
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