With the help of social media and a little bit of luck, a family photo album with nearly 100 years worth of pictures was returned before the owner even knew it was gone.
It all started when Zachary Ruttman of Owasso, Oklahoma, just outside of Tulsa, sold a cabinet he built that was housing a family photo album. Ruttman says there are family photos in the album going back five generations to the early 1900s, making it a priceless family heirloom.
Before giving the cabinet to the buyer, Ruttman realized the photo album was still inside, so he took it out and put it on the top of his truck. However, he soon forgot it was there and when he drove off the photo album fell off the truck and onto the side of the road.
“Probably the first time I’ve ever done that in my life,” Ruttman said jokingly. “Obviously, I didn’t quite take care of it as well as I should have.”
Fortunately, someone found the photo album on the side of the road. Not knowing who the album belonged to, the person took it to the Owasso Police Department.
The police department took one of the photos inside depicting Ruttman and his two brothers when they were kids and posted it on its Facebook page, hoping somebody would recognize someone in the photo.
Soon after the Owasso police posted on Facebook, some of Ruttman’s friends identified him as being in the photo. At that point, Ruttman hadn’t even realized he was missing the photo album. Nevertheless, it was easy for the police to return it to him, much to his relief.
While it would have been a nightmare for Ruttman’s family to have lost all of those photos, he says they found humor in the story. Ruttman is also grateful someone found it and did the right thing to make up for his carelessness.
“I was relieved,” said Ruttman. “I felt kind of a sense of community. It wasn’t missing very long.”