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A Treasure and a Good Samaritan

I was brainstorming ways to celebrate TOA Waters' first anniversary with my cousin. See,  my cousin, who happens to be an English teacher, is an incredible writer. She has been so supportive of my new business venture that she has offered to write for TOA Waters' blog.

I brought up to her how my mom was working on a scrapbook for the company - capturing all the special moments we've experienced throughout the year.

The scrapbook was put together so beautifully. It had photos of my parents and brother pitching in to prepare for the holiday rush, my first ever newspaper mention, the time when the local radio station stopped by to make some bubble baths - all the special milestones that brought TOA Waters where we are today.

Let me tell you, this scrapbook meant the world to me! Not only was it magnificently laid out, but it was also designed by my mother. It's something that she spent hours of her time piecing together - truly a labor of love. I've always been close with my mom, so of course, this book had some extra special meaning behind it.

When I brought the scrapbook out to show my cousin, I was sure to clear the table of any food or liquids - just to make sure that no accidents happened. We sifted through all the pages with plenty of smiles and laughter.

We ended up deciding that we were going to create a blog post highlighting all the wonderful events that happened this past year. I was going to grab snapshots of the pages that my mom created, while my cousin was going to use her creative writing to bring the story to life.

That afternoon, I packed my car up and prepared to make the drive home from New Jersey to Maryland. While packing the car, I carefully placed the scrapbook on the top of my vehicle. I didn't want my luggage to damage the book in any way. My original thought was to place the scrapbook back into the car once everything was packed. Well, that didn't happen. Without even realizing, I ended up driving off with the scrapbook on top of my car.

During my drive home, I decided to stop to grab some gas to fill up the tank. While the tank was filling, I grabbed my phone to check for any new emails. I received one new message.

It was an email sent from a woman I didn’t know. It was sent through the contact form on TOA Waters’ website. She said she found a scrapbook scattered across Valley Road in New Jersey. She wasn't sure if the scrapbook was mine, but she decided to reach out and give it a shot in case she could find the owner. That’s when I realized the terrible mistake that I made.

The book was destroyed. The kind Samaritan tried her best to salvage the pages and offered to bring them back to my parent's house. Within the next few minutes, my mother received a knock on the door. The woman was standing in front of her with the torn-up pages. Most of the pages were recovered, except for five.

My parents proceeded out to search for the missing pages. Three more were found. However, we were still missing my mother's favorite page - It was a photo of her with a white bow on it. At that point, we thought that page was lost forever.

About an hour later, my parents received another knock on the door. This time it was the lady’s mother. Apparently, she heard the story of how her daughter recovered a scrapbook from their busy road. In that process, she found a page and decided to bring it back to my parents. It was the page my mother was searching for.

I am still in awe of the kindness shown by these two ladies. I can't believe a mother and daughter would go out of their way to return these precious memories to their rightful owner - people they have never met before. Expecting nothing in return.

On top of it, I was blown away by the love of my parents. Even though I accidentally destroyed my mother's work, my dad and mom took the time to retrieve the missing pieces. When I think about it, it was very symbolic of how my parents have always looked after me, even as an adult. My mother, without hesitation, even offered to remake that scrapbook for me because she knew how much it meant to me.

There is kindness around every corner. As we approach our 1-year anniversary, we are grateful for every moment and individual who has supported us. From the random stranger on the street that offered a helping hand, to our friends and family who always have our backs.

We thank you from the bottom of our hearts. – Javier Folgar, founder of TOA Waters.

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