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See the sweet story of how a couple's wedding photos were found 9 years later

A thrift store shopper found the missing flash drive.
A woman found a flash drive with wedding photos in a thrift store lunch bag.
A woman found a flash drive with wedding photos in a thrift store lunch bag.Jessica Black
/ Source: TODAY

On a recent trip to her local thrift store, Michelle de Mercado had one goal in mind: find a new lunch bag for work.

After perusing the aisles of Sacramento’s Deseret Industries store, the California resident stumbled across a bag that struck her fancy and brought it home. Little did she know her new purchase had a little surprise inside. De Mercado soon discovered something a bit bizarre — a flash drive — and was naturally a bit nervous to see what it stored.

“I held onto it for a few days before I opened it as I was worried about what may have been on it,” she told TODAY Style.

Curiosity won out in the end, and de Mercado plugged the drive into her computer. She was surprised to see a couple’s wedding photos, and immediately felt compelled to return them to the lovebirds. So she turned to Facebook to help locate the couple.

“I have seen cases on social media where lost items have been returned and knew that the super-sleuths of social media would be of great use. Within the hour I had a message from a woman who knew the groom's mother. She sent her a message with the three of us in it,” de Mercado said.

Soon enough, de Mercado was in touch with the couple, Jessica and Stephen Black, who wed nine years ago and now live in Texas with their three children. The couple was thrilled to hear about the flash drive, but they were also a bit puzzled since they had never actually lost their wedding photos.

Mr. and Mrs. Black on their wedding day.
Mr. and Mrs. Black on their wedding day.Jessica Black

"We had no clue there was a missing flash drive of our wedding photos out there. Both of our families donate frequently to that thrift store but they don’t recognize that lunch box whatsoever or are missing a flash drive," Jessica Black told TODAY.

The happy bride with her friends.
The happy bride with her friends.Jessica Black

De Mercado was happy to learn the couple hadn't misplaced their own copy of the photos, but still offered to mail the flash drive to them. And Black was pleasantly surprised by her act of kindness.

"I was a little taken aback when she reached out to me. I couldn’t believe a complete stranger had my wedding photos and how she ended up with them was such a funny occurrence. My next thought was how in the world did she end up finding me," Black said.

The family photos were returned to their rightful owners.
The family photos were returned to their rightful owners.Jessica Black

As it turns out, the mysterious flash drive belonged to the couple's wedding photographer, who had donated the lunch bag without realizing she'd left the drive in there.

Although she wasn't actually missing her wedding photos, Black is still happy that the case of the missing flash drive has been solved.

"I am so thankful for her kindness in wanting to return them to the right owner. It is amazing how through social media, news can spread like wildfire. People can work together and reach out to others and make connections and help others out. Exactly what happened here," Black said.