CANYON COUNTRY (CBS) — Matt Chambers brought home a safe from Home Depot a couple of weeks ago and unlocked a mystery.
The Canyon Country resident found a pile of documents inside revealing intimate details about the life and family of a man named Rick Cooper, born in 1937.
Chambers made it his mission to return the papers to their rightful owner. He contacted CBS2 News to help locate Cooper, and, a week later, the two finally met.
“I”m so grateful,” Cooper said. “You can replace money, you cannot replace this.”
Cooper says he returned the safe he bought from Home Depot in Canyon Country because it wasn’t big enough, but forgot about the documents he had placed inside.
When Chambers bought the sealed, boxed safe he was surprised to find the documents.
Among the papers were marriage certificates, death certificates, citizenship papers and decades of family history dating back to the 1800s.
“I immediately got on the phone and started calling the numbers listed, but they were all dead ends,” Chambers said.
In an earlier interview, Chambers had said, “I’d love to meet [Cooper] and shake his hand and hear about his family. There are some amazing pieces in here and, I bet, there are even some better stories behind ‘em.”
Chambers was left with so many questions and Cooper spent their meeting Tuesday shedding light on the stories behind the history.
“Whoa — this is really old,” said Cooper, as his hands rifled over his grandfather’s 1906 citizenship papers. He also found an old love letter of his decorated with a red heart.
Chambers said one item, in particular, captivated him.
“I liked flipping through his passport and seeing that he had been all over the world. That’s kind of my dream to travel all over the world.”