Craig and Linda Wright finally got their possessions back Tuesday, 28 days after movers left Topeka, Kansas, with them.
Jean St. Felix, the owner of Miami-based JM Moving Co., returned those possessions Tuesday at a storage facility in Ocean Springs, Mississippi, where the Wrights now live, Linda Wright said.
“I’m shaking with sheer exhaustion and relief!” she said.
“He said, ‘Miss Linda, I’m so sorry,'” Linda Wright recalled. “I said: ‘That’s OK. You got me my stuff, just like you said you would.’ I didn’t hug him – he was too hot to hug – but I thanked him. I’m too happy to be mad.”
Linda Wright credited The Topeka Capital-Journal, USA TODAY and social media with playing a role in the return of those possessions, including numerous keepsakes and mementoes she considers priceless.
“The power of the press and the power of networking!” she said.
When The Capital-Journal contacted St. Felix by phone late Tuesday, he said he had done nothing wrong and had carried out the job he’d been paid to do.
He said police who were at the scene did nothing other than make sure the delivery went smoothly, “So what does that tell you?”
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Almost everything the couple owned was packed into a 26-foot U-Haul trailer driven by St. Felix, which left June 21 from their North Topeka storage unit, ostensibly en route to Ocean Springs.
The Wrights said they paid St. Felix $3,500 up front before he left Topeka with their possessions in a U-Haul that surfaced empty days later.
After that, Linda Wright said she touched base with St. Felix every third day to get a progress report.
“We’ve been through hell and back,” said Linda Wright, who is 70. “I haven’t slept much. I worried every single day.”
The Wrights spoke Sunday to a reporter for The Capital-Journal and detailed their plight.
Hours after the article published online Monday, St. Felix removed their possessions from public storage in Kansas City, Missouri, Linda Wright said.
“I think he saw the article and thought, ‘Oh gosh, we messed with the wrong girl,” she said.
St. Felix contacted Linda Wright on Tuesday afternoon to say he soon would be at the Ocean Springs storage facility where he was to deliver the items. She asked him to text her a photo of the nearby police station as proof he was in town.
The Wrights had just finished eating dinner Tuesday when Linda Wright received a photo from St. Felix showing the front of the station, she said.
“Craig goes ‘You’re kidding me!’ except that he didn’t say ‘kidding,'” she said.
The Wrights contacted the Ocean Springs Police Department, which sent two officers to keep order.
Linda Wright said she and St. Felix spoke briefly before a police officer intervened, saying: “We’re here to make a smooth and organized delivery. We’re not going to bicker.”
St. Felix asked the Wrights to pay him the remaining money they owed him – minus the $197 they had wasted for one month’s storage space at the Ocean Springs facility.
So they paid him that amount, which was “$1,180-something,” Linda Wright said.
“Now everybody’s going to say ‘You paid him?'” she said. “But I don’t care. I got my stuff. I’m happy. No one can ruin this day for me.”
As the property was unloaded, Linda Wright said she thought about the situation from St. Felix’s point of view and felt sympathy for him.
She said St. Felix had been ill for part of the time involved, and noted she and her husband had told him they wouldn’t being living in Ocean’s Springs until early July.
Linda Wright said the storage facility owner asked if she wanted to go through their possessions to make sure everything was there, including four TV sets.
But after Linda Wright confirmed that “the priceless things” had been returned, they chose not to go through anything else.
“I could care less about the damned TVs,” she said.
Tim Hrenchir can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 785-213-5934.
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