What a difference a week makes! The grounds of my principal workplace are bisected by a small river, actually a brook (there are two names borne by this body of water), that feeds our onsite pond. There is a bridge across this river which is a favorite spot for people to stop and take photos of the site, with its pretty pond. Most people, of course, use their smartphones to take photos these days.
Last weekend, a woman who was attending our fall fundraiser stumbled on the bridge and the phone flew out of her hands, ending up in the river. The fate of the phone was immediately apparent when her husband called the phone and was instantly shunted off into voicemail. Nevertheless, hope is a persistent thing, and the couple asked me if I could search for the phone during my overnight shift, and I dutifully looked for the stricken phone in the dawn's early light, to no avail. I sent her husband a text message the following day to indicate that the phone was not recoverable.
Last week, a major renovation project onsite was started, a project which necessitates the draining of the pond- a culvert which allows drainage was opened up, and the water started to slowly drain out of the pond, exposing much of the bed of our small river. On Friday night, a girl attending our fall fundraiser dropped her phone while on the bridge, and it fell onto a now-dry portion of the riverbed. One of our contractors working the event located the phone on the riverbed below, and with the encouragement of our event director, attempted to retrieve it. He scrambled down the overgrown riverbank, then was brought up short when confronted by one of our local raccoons. He climbed back up the bank pretty much at the time I arrived.
Knowing that I have a high tolerance for not-too-pleasant tasks (years ago, one co-worker once told me that I'm not happy unless I'm getting my ass kicked), he and the event director told me of the dropped phone, and pointed it out to me... challenge accepted! I scrambled down the bank of the river, crashing through the underbrush without encountering any fauna. I examined the riverbank to locate the spots which looked least likely to be soft, muddy places to lose both shoes and footing. I was able to get the phone and return it, functional but with a badly cracked screen, to its grateful owner.
It was a matter of luck- if the pond-draining hadn't been undertaken, and the river level lowered, this second phone would have suffered the fate of its predecessor. Meanwhile, my reputation as the go-to guy to accomplish off-the-wall tasks continues unabated.