One last roller coaster before we get ready to leave Michigan’s largest amusement park, Michigan’s Adventure, and head back to our hotel for our last night’s stay in West Central Michigan.
I stepped off of the inverted, steel suspended roller coaster, Thunderhawk, where I’d been flipped upside down five times and hit speeds of over 50 mph.
My right hand reached for my right pocket to make sure my wallet was there. Check. Next, my left hand reached for my left pocket to make sure my cell phone was still safety tucked away. Instant panic struck me because I didn’t feel it. I double checked.
You have to be freaking kidding me. IT WAS GONE!
I told one of the girls working the ride that I lost my phone while riding. I was told I could look for it from the walkways and that’s it. She told me to go to lost and found to leave my personal information and description of my phone. The workers search the grounds every night when the park closes. If they find it they’ll notify me.
I look up and down the walkways entering and exiting Thunderhawk but I don’t see it anywhere.
Now, for the walk of doom. As I trekked through the park to find Bobbie and Harlie and let them know I lost my phone, I was full of dread and stress. A couple things were in my thoughts. One: My phone is locked with a passcode so, thankfully, no one can access my information. This was by the skin of my teeth. Until we left for vacation I had not used a passcode to lock my phone. Thank God, I decided to add a passcode lock for the extra security while vacationing out of state. Thought two: I knew from checking the weather forecast that rain was coming. I knew that if my iPhone was not found that evening, it would drowned by morning. And – speaking of damage – having been tossed from my pocket and thrown who knows how far and having landed on who knows what type of surface, in what kind of condition would my phone even be in at this point? Likely, shattered. Hundreds of dollars signs is what I saw in my mind; a new iPhone purchase would now be added to this vacation budget.
I found Bobbie and a worn-out, red-faced Harlie. There, in the middle of the thoroughfare, I immediately, informed them of the bad news. We headed to the front of the park and filed the lost and found report. Then, although I had already looked everywhere I could, Bobbie decided that we needed to go back to Thunderhawk and look more.
The three of us searched every nook and cranny of the underbelly of the roller coaster that we could get to. But spotting a black iPhone case on the black mulch with a covering of bushes and other vegetation was impossible. Bobbie tried calling my phone but the loud roar of the roller coaster drowned out all other sounds.
If you have an iPhone chances are pretty high that you have the app, Find My iPhone, on your phone. Bobbie and I both have the app but neither of us had ever used it. It was worth a try. The app sent the sound signal to my phone but since my location setting was turned off on my phone, it’s exact location cannot be determined. DANG IT! Unless we can hear the tone, we are out of luck. We divide to conquer, walking along the sidewalks near the ride listening for a high-pitched tone. No success.
By now, Harlie is exhausted and it’s showing. She’s done! I had resolved that my phone was gone! Bobbie was not quite willing to give up yet. (She, too, was seeing several hundred dollars slipping through our fingers.) We decided I would take a break with Harlie while my wife went back to cell-phone hunting.
Not caring a bit how nerdy or weird she looked, she slowly and carefully began covering every inch of the walkways under and near the ride. Alternating between crouching low to listen for the tone and standing on her tiptoes for a better visual, she looked and looked.
Enter: Two young teen boys who changed everything. The outgoing, taller of the two young men who had just finished their ride on the coaster stopped and said to my wife, “Are you, by any chance, looking for an iPhone?”
“Yes!”, she exclaimed. “Tell me you know where it is!” And they did. Those two boys were nearly as excited as she. They, practically running, led her to the spot where they had seen and heard my phone from the ride itself just a few moments before. See, as the roller coaster comes to the end of it’s couple-minute thrill, the car stops completely and dangles above the ground for about 30 seconds before moving into the unload area. There is where the two helpful teens and many other passengers heard the ‘Find My iPhone’ tone and saw it from 15 to 20 feet above. It was reported that the phone looked to be in perfect condition with not even a cracked screen.
Bobbie thanked the boys over and over again as she headed back to find Harlie and me. She made her way back to us with with a big, Cheshire Cat grin on her face. Wide eyed, she hollered, “Found it!”
“No way!”, I said ecstatically.
“Yep! I swear!” She led me and poor, worn-out Harlie to the location of the found iPhone. It had come to rest in a double fenced-off “Restricted Zone” which is strictly off limits to anyone during park hours while the roller coaster is operating. Although we could not actually see the phone, we could hear it ring when we dialed it. I was in total disbelief. Just then, a roller coaster-car-full of passengers stopped above and one girl points down and says, “I see an iPhone down on the ground.”
“That’s ours!” We yelled and then asked her to use her Go Go Gadget arm to reach down and get it. But since that was an impossibility, we waited a few more hours until the ride shut down and the park closed. A park security guard and Bobbie ventured through the dark, deserted amusement park and asked a highly perturbed ride worker who was on her way out to unlock, enter and check the restricted ride for the phone. The operator swore she’d already checked the area. Bobbie dialed my phone and the three of them heard it. Only then did the worker agree to go in after it. It had fallen into a briar bush which had apparently broken it’s fall. My phone was in perfect condition.
Reunited! And it felt so good!
- If you’re going to ride roller coasters, DON’T have anything on you that you don’t want to lose!
- Turn on your location setting for the Find My iPhone app and test it out every once in awhile to be sure it works.
- There are still good, helpful people in this world – even TEENAGERS are helpful.
- Totally dark amusement parks are creepy.
- Your spouse is your partner and two is better than one. As I very often say, “Teamwork makes the dream work!”