Javier Folgar almost lost a priceless family treasure forever but, in doing so, he learned the depth of the kindness in the world.
In September 2020, Javier launched his online business, TOA Waters. Named after the Toa River in Cuba to honor his heritage, he provides bubble bath products for those who want more options than floral scents — it was a hit!
It’s only been a year since the company virtually opened its doors, but in that time they crossed milestones and made precious memories. And thanks to Javier’s mother, they were all preserved in a beautiful scrapbook.
“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,” Javier said, “All the special milestones that brought TOA Waters where we are today.”
Javier was so excited to show his cousin, an English teacher who also writes for the company blog, the special scrapbook, all the while making sure it didn’t get damaged from any food or liquids.
As they looked through it, they were struck with an idea: they had been trying to come up with a way to celebrate TOA Waters’ one year anniversary, so why not create a blog post all about the scrapbook?
With a plan locked into place, Javier packed up his car for the drive home from New Jersey to Maryland. He continued to be extra cautious about where he placed the scrapbook. His plan was working — at first.
“While packing the car, I carefully placed the scrapbook on the top of my vehicle,” he said. “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.”
At some point on his drive home, Javier stopped for gas and was able to check his email — and it’s a good thing he did. He received an email, through the contact form on his company website, from a woman named Alyssa who he didn’t know.
“She said she found a scrapbook scattered across Valley Road … That’s when I realized the terrible mistake that I made,” Javier said.
The kind woman did her best to salvage what she found and delivered it to Javier’s parents’ house. All but five pages were there, so Carmen and her husband headed out on their own search, where they managed to find three more.
Unfortunately, one of the remaining two missing pages was his mother’s favorite: it had a photo of her with a white bow on it. By this point, Javier and his family accepted that it was gone forever. But then there was a knock at their door.
“This time it was Alyssa’s mother,” Javier said. “Apparently, she heard the story of how her daughter recovered a scrapbook from their busy road. She looked around and also found a page, and decided to bring it back to my parents.”
Now that they had Carmen’s favorite page back, the depth of these complete stranger’s kindness was fulling hitting them all.
“I am still in awe of the kindness shown by these two ladies,” Javier said. “I can’t believe a mother and daughter would go out of their way to return these precious memories to us — people they have never met before.”
Losing the scrapbook also made Javier realize just how incredible his parents are. Despite the fact that it was his fault that scrapbook was damaged and almost gone forever, his parents were happy to help him find it.
“When I think about it, it was very symbolic of how my parents have always looked after me, even as an adult,” he said. “My mother, without hesitation, even offered to remake that scrapbook for me because she knew how much it meant to me. There truly is kindness around every corner.”
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