Lehmann Skinner’s nearly empty storage units were completely full just days ago.
He and his wife have been accumulating stuff for about 20 years and when they moved to Minot eight years ago, much of it found its way to storage.
Their youngest of four kids is 9 years old and the storage units were getting fuller and fuller as their kids have grown.
“We both agreed to say, hey let’s make some people happy,” Skinner said. So they got to work.
Last weekend they began clearing out the two units.
“I had bedroom sets in here, king size bedroom sets, queen size bedroom sets,” Skinner explained. “I had mattresses. Everything to go with it. Trains, dressers, end tables. I had toys, tons of toys. I had bicycles, at least four or five bikes. Dining table sets, formal dining sets, casual dining sets. I had … what didn’t I have?”
He lined it up all along the driveway and people took notice, including a good neighbor.
“Watching him pull new furniture, cars slamming on the brakes, doing U-turns, coming back and forth,” Katherine Allen said. “And I just sat there and watched wondering if there was a sign out there, wondering what was going on?”
“Everybody was taking it,” Skinner said. “I was happy and a lot of kids are going to be happy so I feel good about it, I don’t mind helping people out. Just one of those good things to do. I hate to see things go to waste.”
Skinner said people were in disbelief that furniture, toys and clothes were all there to be taken, free of cost.
He guesses about a dozen cars stopped to grab something, people walked by to see what they could use, and more was taken when he left to unload what he chose to keep.
“They wanted to give me money, I said nope I don’t want no money it’s free. Take it, enjoy it,” he said. “And it was going so fast that I was trying to put everything together like the dinner tables with the legs and chairs and everything. I was putting it out and people were grabbing it I had to say wait a minute!”
To him, he didn’t think twice. But to others, it was huge.
Allen said, “He told me he was giving it out for free and I have no words for that because in a time that we’re going through with COVID, in a time of hardship and not sure which way to go.. left, right … with everything going on in the world – you don’t find people that are willing to give to others for nothing.”
The retired Army veteran now works for the city street department and, as a New Orleans native, he and his wife opened an authentic Cajun restaurant last year.
“I love it here, my wife loves it, my kids love it here,” he reflected. “So I just wanted to help out people that need it. It’s always a good thing.”
“He did it from his heart, and he gave to others when he didn’t have to,” Allen said. “And that is why he is a person you should know.”
She added she didn’t need anything herself but still was thrilled to highlight the good deed done by Skinner.