Monday, January 02, 2012

The Miracle of the Lost Wallet and Phone

Dave took Friday off so he could watch the end-of-the-year football games and take us surfing one more time before the kids go back to school this week. Around 1 o'clock we loaded our kids, a few neighbor kids, a BYU student, 6 surfboards, 3 sets of snorkel gear and a few bags of goodies, towels and sunscreen into the truck and headed back over to our new favorite spot, Pua'ena Point, for an afternoon of fun.

We met some friends there and spent our time swimming, exploring and surfing.  The time went fast and before we knew it the sun was heading down and our tummies were rumbling. We loaded all back into the truck and, still wet and sandy, drove into the Mililani Costco for gas and pizza.  It was only a 30 minute drive from Hale'iwa and gas is so much cheaper at Costco than on the North Shore that it was worth it. Along the way we called Grampa Lou and wished him a Happy Birthday and the girls played games on our BYU Student friend's phone while the boys enjoyed the windy ride in the bed of the truck.

Since we didn't want to leave the surfboards unattended the boys remained in the truck bed while the rest of us walked over to pick up the boxed pizza and smoothies.  We brought it back and gathered around the back of the truck, smoothies resting on the bumper, pizza box resting on the surfboards, and enjoyed our delicious end to a fun-filled day, in the dark of the Costco parking lot. A few minutes later we were back on the road to home.  The boys were snuggled up in the back with the surfboards and a wool blanket and we visited casually in the cab over the course of the hours drive home.

We got home and, as usual, set everyone to work unloading, rinsing, storing and showering.  I was in charge of the towels and the beach bags and clearing the truck of trash.  I put the thrice used towels in the washing machine immediately and went upstairs to unload the bags, unlock the doors and referee who showered first.  This is when our fun-filled exciting day had a turn for the worst.

Dave came up from the now cleaned out truck and asked where I put his phone.  

"I didn't see your phone." I responded.

"You were the last one to have my phone." he insisted, "You were the last one to talk to my dad when we wished him Happy Birthday."

"I was, and then when we were getting gas at Costco I put it in the seat in between us on top of your towel and I didn't notice it again after that." I responded, while instantly flashing through my mind was his towel and the others now in the washer. "Did you double check the truck? Or, I haven't finished cleaning out the bags, maybe it's in one of the those." I suggested.

He left to double check and so did I.  I ran down to the washing machine and took every wet thing back out and put my head in the machine to make sure there was no phone hidden in the depths.  No phone, phew! I walked out to the truck to help him.  We checked the cracks of the seats, under the seats, the center console, the back seats, behind all the seats, in the glove box, all the compartments.  We went back inside and checked all the bags and the back porch and the counters and the bedroom and the slipper pile.  And then Dave said, "Where is my wallet?"

Then the panic set in.  We quickly realized that the last time he had his wallet was when we got Pizza at Costco.  He had the wallet and the phone in his hand, handed his money over to the BYU student/friend and had the friend purchase the food.  The friend gave Dave the pizza box to carry back to the truck while the rest of us juggled the 9 smoothies, straws and big bundle of napkins.  When we got to the truck the pizza box was set on the surfboards, the smoothies on the bumper and Dave had begun distributing the slices to one and all.  Which means that he must have set his wallet and phone on the bumper of the car.

I quickly dialed Costco hoping that someone would still be in after hours.  Someone was but no wallet or phone had been discovered by the cart crew but they suggested I call back in the morning. "In the morning!" I screamed inside my head.  In the morning wasn't going to help when next week Dave would be leaving on a business trip and NEEDED his identification, not to mention the travel credit card that was in that wallet.  He couldn't wait until morning when by then everything could be stolen or destroyed by water or whatever. We had to take action NOW.

Dave grabbed the phone and tried calling his cell.  It went straight to voicemail, a very bad sign.  That meant it was off.  He then looked up his phone on Lookout, an online app for locating lost phones.  Lookout couldn't find it.  That meant not only was it off but it was dead; most likely smashed.

We hopped in the car (fortunately a different student had left his car in our driveway while he was home for the holidays.  He had left us the keys.  It gets better gas mileage than the truck so we took it.) and drove the hour back to Mililani retracing our every step.

As we drove back around the North Shore in the dark of the night I found myself staring at the far side of the road looking for any sign of a fallen wallet.  The car was quiet except for an occasional sullen outburst from Dave declaring his utter stupidity.  I didn't argue--not because I thought he was stupid for having left it on the bumper, but because I knew it was totally something I would do but had been lucky enough not to have had the phone and wallet in my hand this time.

Driving up the hill from Hale'iwa to Wahiawa, staring into the dark and starry sky I noticed that I had been silently humming a song for the past 10 minutes.  It was one I had learned in Primary many years ago and I now forced myself to remember the words.

"I kneel to pray every day,
I speak to Heavenly Father.
He hears and answers me
When I pray in Faith"

"I begin by saying 'Dear Heavenly Father'.
I thank him for blessings he sends;
Then humbly I ask him for things that I need,
In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen."

I had twenty minutes left before we'd be there.  I had to start praying.  Why hadn't I thought of that sooner? So as the tune continued to roll through my head I began praying.  I thanked God for the many miracles that He had performed on my behalf before.  I reminded Him that He had done much greater things for me like when we were preparing to move to Hawaii and my suburban and motorcycle and Dave's BMW had all miraculously sold within days of being put on the market.  The miracle of the house renting out in answer to the prayers of both me and my renter.  I reminded Him that He had provided miracles for me that I had never even asked for like the Miracle of the Strawberries and that He had promised in Matthew 7:8 "For everyone that asketh receiveth; And he that seeketh findeth; And to him that knocketh it shall be opened."

I then went on to ask only for what we needed.  Dave needed two forms of identification and he needed the BYU travel credit card that had been issued to him for his trip.  We also needed just a couple parts of the phone so we could file an insurance claim with Sprint. He had had a lot of stuff in his wallet including debit cards, gift cards, his PCC annual pass, some business cards and insurance cards.  He had used all his paper money at Costco but there were coins stuffed into one of the wallet pockets.  We didn't need any of the extras.  All I asked for was the ID, the credit card and a couple pieces of the phone.

I was still praying as Dave pulled off the H2 (the freeway) and onto Ka Uka Blvd and into the Costco parking lot.  Our eyes carefully scanned the cement reaching into the shadows and across the great expanse of the empty lot. We found where we had parked but found no sign of a wallet or broken phone. We circled once, twice and then slowly made our way, retracing our path from two hours previous, back to the H2. There was surprisingly very little litter along the way. 

We gazed into sewer inlets and across islands and across the streetlit ramp and highway intently searching for the slightest hint of something broken or strewn.  We flipped on our hazard lights and proceeded at half speed on the far right lane of the four northbound lanes. As we drove along I thought I spotted something but wasn't sure.  We decided to continue our search to the next exit and then loop around for a closer look.

We drove back around the 6 mile loop stopping at the on-ramp island to double check there--remembering that the light was green earlier in the evening and we hadn't stopped before turning onto the freeway; the wallet and phone combo could have gone flying then--but no luck. Our last hope was that item I had seen before looping. Could that be what we were looking for?  With my prayer still on shuffle-repeat in my head we drove very slowly down the shoulder of the dark freeway, hazards still flashing.

We inched along endlessly, eyes straining, necks craning, hopes waning and then there it was: something black.  We had just passed it.  It wasn't the same shape as what I had seen before and wasn't in the same place.  Was it the same thing? something different? was it trash?  I leapt from the car with a mini flashlight in my hand and stayed close to the cement wall that the black thing had been resting against. I could see nothing outside of my flashlight's narrow beam until a group of cars came speeding up the highway towards me.  In my peripheral vision something white caught my eye three feet outside of my circle of light. I flashed the light over and tears filled my eyes as I looked down at and leapt onto Dave's BYU ID card smiling up at me. I was shaking with excitement and astonishment.  I moved the light across more of the shoulder and found the BYU credit card and within a few more steps found the black thing: Dave's cell phone cover, empty.

I continued scanning.  I walked and scanned and cried and walked and scanned.  I found some coins.  As I turned back I saw Dave approaching. "What did you find?" he called out.
"This." I said as I held my hands out, "And you?"
"I found it all.  Well, the phone is questionable but I found the wallet and everything else.  They were all strewn about but they were there. I just haven't found my Driver's Licence."

I was so overwhelmed.  We found it all!? How could that be?  In the middle of the night (it was now 11pm), in the middle of a busy freeway, in the dark we found it all! Dave ushered me to the car and had me move it forward 10 feet so he could check the ground under the car for the missing license.  It wasn't there. He walked up and down the 1/4 mile+ strip a few more times, crossing the freeway to the median too.  He found a few more items: a $50 Outback gift card, a business card of an associate but still no Driver's License. He decided that he needed to walk back further.  Because of how his wallet is constructed and where his License is kept he thought that it could have fallen out before the rest of the wallet fell off the bumper.  He instructed me to slowly drive down the shoulder for another 1/4 mile in search of anything else, and then take the 6 mile loop around again and pick him up back closer to the on ramp.

I followed his directions and when I came back around to him he was still without his License.  Our last ditch effort would be to check the median one last time but expand the search about 1/4 mile back. I drove him up to the spot we thought he should begin.  He carefully crossed the four Northbound lanes and spent another 4 minutes searching and came back with his License AND a $10 Starbucks gift card!

It truly was a miracle that we found any of it let alone all of it.  Yes, the phone was broken into a bunch of pieces and is obviously unusable (except for the phone cover which is still in perfect condition) but it was found and can be used to file an insurance claim.  His wallet is still usable.  Some of his cards are pretty beat up but he has them and the gift cards!!  What a blessing.  I am so thankful for prayer and a loving Heavenly Father who watches over and directs us in our path's and provides all that we need and more.

Matthew 7:7-11
Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:
For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.
Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask abread, will he give him a stone?
Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent?
If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?

The many pieces of Dave's phone recovered from the H2 Northbound shoulder and median two hours after falling off the back bumper of the truck.

1 comment:

  1. Great post. What a story! That is the worst when you lose a wallet and phone. You are a great writer. I loved that you said your prayer was on "shuffle-repeat" in your head.


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