About six weeks ago during our monthly pilgrimage to Five Guys for burgers and fries, I asked Scott to stop the car and pull over. In the middle of a busy intersection I spotted a camera. Obviously the camera had not been there long because, with the traffic whizzing by and the sun beginning to set, it was a matter of moments before it would have been run over and destroyed.
I ran out of the car and darted into the intersection to retrieve the camera. The only damage seemed to be in one corner where it had fallen onto the asphalt. I could only assume that we were the first car to come upon the lost camera. Lacking any identification I turned it on. I have to admit that I was a little worried viewing somebody's photos and videos! Hoping that what I was about to view was not pornographic, I pressed play.
I watched three videos of a happy family singing happy birthday and another two showing what appeared to be a middle school volleyball game. I tried to identify the school but we couldn't figure it out. I was beginning to feel discouraged but, channeling my inner Mr. Monk, I decided to watch the last video. Finally, the last video of a little boy in a karate class began to play. Zooming in I was able to identify the name of the karate studio on the back of the uniform. We had our first clue!
At home I Googled the karate school and found two locations. The next morning I grabbed the camera and drove to the school that was closest to where we found the camera. I had an instructor view the video and, after pausing the frame on the little boy's face, he was able to identify the child.
Thrilled that we had located the rightful owners, I left my contact information and took the camera home. For some reason I simply didn't feel comfortable leaving the expensive electronic with somebody else because I felt like I had a responsibility to turn it over directly to the rightful owners. I placed the camera on top of my microwave in the corner of my kitchen and waited for the call.
Apparently the karate instructor did not view contacting the family as a priority. They didn't receive my message that I had found their camera until yesterday! I had nearly given up on returning it and was beginning to ponder simply dropping it off at the school and hoping for the best.
The owner was thrilled when we spoke yesterday. As I suspected, she had placed camera on her back bumper and had driven away. She told me how she had retraced her route, posted flyers and put out an ad on Craigslist all in an attempt to locate the camera. She wasn't concerned about the device but was upset about the loss of all of the videos and photos. She remarked that her husband had given up looking but that she persevered, maintaining that sometimes people do the right thing and that it might be returned.
As it turns out, last year she was in a similar circumstance to me. She explained that she had found a diamond engagement ring in the dressing room of a store. Uneasy about leaving it with mall security, she left a description and her contact information.
In the meantime she visited local jewelery stores asking if the piece could be identified. At the final store she was delighted when the jeweler recognized the workmanship and contacted his client. Because of the time she took, the ring was returned to the happy bride.
Robby and I had a good time playing detective. We formulated a plan and looked for clues. Not only did I sincerely want the camera to be returned, I felt that it was a good lesson for him. Too many people don't take the time to do the right thing and to go the extra steps to help a stranger.
Hearing the camera owner tell the story of the found engagement ring, I can't help but think how the situation has gone full circle. She found something treasured and actively sought the owner. To her husband's surprise, we located her camera and returned the favor. I think that good karma has been established.