A long-lost VHS tape of a baby taking his first steps was recovered by a determined stranger inside a thrift store VCR and then remarkably returned to the family.
Jim McKay of Austin, Texas, told Today that he recently discovered the tape in a VCR he had purchased from a Goodwill over a year ago. The tape showed a young boy in a diaper taking his first steps with the help of his father and brother in September 1994.
McKay was resolute in returning the precious tape to its rightful owners and launched a Facebook campaign to make it happen.
“I found this family home video in a used VCR from Goodwill here in Texas,” he wrote on Saturday. “I really want to return it to the family. Can you help share it in your circles? Hopefully this family is still local.”
Since McKay is a father, he said he knew how important having such a moment like that on film can be.
“It was really emotional actually seeing that. I recognized it for what it was,” he told Today. “People didn’t film everything like they do now, it was a big moment. They set up that camera, hoping they would catch that and they did.”
McKay’s Facebook post quickly picked up steam over social media, and local news stations picked it up.
The very next night, 26-year-old TyRe Alexander received a call from his mother saying he was on television.
“Her first reaction was, ‘I know that house, I know that living room,’ because she’s the one who set the camera up,” Alexander told Today. “She was like, ‘Those are my cubs,’ because she’s mama bear. She instantly called me, that was her first instinct to call me and give me that memory.”
Alexander, an educator, soon found the 25-year-old clip and watched it for the first time.
“I haven’t seen me, my dad, and brother in a room for a long time,” he said of the video. “To see that and to see all that love and everything, that took me back to a place I could never go without having that tape.”
McKay, meanwhile, is astounded that his plan worked.
“I think it’s a really touching story,” he told Today. “The odds of it happening and working out as well as it did are just incredible. It’s sweet, it’s heartwarming, it’s a reunion and bringing back something that was lost under such interesting circumstances.”
Now Alexander wants to make someone as happy as McKay has made him.
“I just want to be a blessing as much as I can,” he said. “Just like [McKay] did for me, that’s what my life goal is. My purpose in life is to help people and to make people smile.”