A stranger found her camera while fishing in the Animas River, and discovered that the memory card still worked.
Photographs have a great significance in our lives as they capture moments and memories that we may otherwise forget. They allow us to freeze a moment in time and relive it whenever we want. They have the power to evoke emotions, convey a message and tell stories without words. They hold a special place in our lives and play a significant role in our personal and collective memories. Coral Elise Amayi is also a person who likes to store her memories in photographs. Recently, she got to relive some of those memories after being reunited with her digital camera that was lost almost 13 years ago.
Amayi was on a tubing trip down the Animas river in Colorado, New Mexico, with her friends on July 10, 2010, when somewhere along in the waters, her Olympus Stylus 790 SW digital camera fell off the tube.
"The small cord that attached the lanyard and floatation device to the camera had broken," Amayi told Upworthy, adding that it had fallen off during the smelter rapid. Fortunately, she had already transferred the pictures from her graduation before the camera was lost. However, she lost all the photos from her friend's bachelorette party, bridal party and wedding. Moreover, the camera also had several pictures of her dogs and puppies. "I had given them all away by the time I lost the camera," she explained.
Given the significance of the photographs in the camera, Amayi was sad and even cried when she realized she had lost the device. More than a decade went by and she lost all hope of ever seeing those pictures and reliving the memories again.
However, almost 13 years later a man named Spencer Greiner came across her camera while fishing in the Animas River. The camera looked rusted, weathered and completely destroyed but Greiner wanted to see if the memory card still worked. He plugged it into a computer and miraculously, all the pictures that Amay thought she had lost, were perfectly preserved.
Greiner told TODAY, "I was shocked that I was able to read the SD card to begin with! When I saw that the pictures were from a wedding and bridal shower I figured it was worth a go to try and find the owner."
On March 15, he shared some of the retrieved photographs in a Facebook group based in Durango, Colorado. Within an hour, the groom from the wedding left a comment on the post. Greiner said, "I couldn’t believe that I was able to find someone in the photos so quickly." Geiner was put in touch with Amayi a few days later and her happiness knew no bounds upon hearing that her old camera had been recovered.
She said, "I danced in the conference center bathroom. I was blown away." Since Greiner is currently visiting his family, Amayi is yet to receive her camera. However, it was extremely nostalgic for her to see the photographs that Greiner sent.
She said, "The fact that many of those friendships are still going strong. The bride and three of the bridesmaids and I were all in each other's weddings. We all talk at least weekly on Marco Polo, a video messaging app." Amayi was also delighted to see the picture she had with her best friend's daughter. "I was meeting her for the first time," she recalled.
Despite how much his discovery means to Amayi, Greiner feels he has done is nothing special. He explained that he just wanted to know if he would be able to find the owner. He said, "I knew those pictures were sentimental to someone. Taking five minutes to make a Facebook post was the least I could do. It turns out that was all that was needed."
However, Amayi is extremely grateful to Greiner for returning some old memories. She said, "All lost items were once someone's possession. It may have had meaning or significance to them. I am really thankful Spencer took the time to find us." She also hopes that others take inspiration from her story and make efforts to return lost items to their owners.
"People who take the time to help locate the owners of a lost item make the world a better place. It takes a small amount of effort but the reward of gratitude from someone who is reunited is priceless," she added.
Moreover, Amayi wants to give back after receiving this act of kindness. She revealed that the ring her husband proposed to her with was found in Salt Water, Arizona. "Anyone who has lost a men's ring prior to 2013 on the Salt get in touch with me," she said.