It would usually be awkward to see something you used to own hanging in a thrift shop. For Xenos Lopez, it was the happiest of coincidences.
Lopez is an Army veteran who served from 2004 to 2010 as an infantryman and parachute rigger. In 2016, he and his wife Angelica moved from their Bakersfield, California, home to another one across town.
Upon arriving at his new abode, he realized that he couldn’t find his Army uniform. He looked everywhere for it but to no avail. Lopez told 23ABC News Bakersfield that he believes the uniform might have been stolen at some point during the moving process.
On Feb. 16, Lopez and his wife were on a casual thrift-shop outing when he spotted a familiar-looking garment at the Mills Creek Antique Mall. Lo and behold, it was his old uniform, with the awards he earned still pinned on.
“Just everything that’s on it is mine, so you just instantly know,” Lopez told 23ABC News.
He immediately went to Rick Freels, the shop’s owner, and explained the situation to him. Lopez had planned on paying Freels for the uniform, but it turned out that wasn’t necessary.
“I said it’s yours, you earned it,” Freels said. “And I could tell how much he appreciated it.”
Now that Lopez has his long-lost uniform back, he’s not taking any chances with it again. He said that to him, the uniform is a physical reminder of his years in the military and holds real sentimental value.
Lopez said he plans to add it to a shadow box he has been working on that contains more of his military mementos to ensure he never parts with his uniform again.