July 01, 2017


By John R. Greenwood

"Phone Angels" 

Anyone who reads this post will be able to relate to it. It is an overdue "Thank you" to a mother and her three children. The story began on October 8, 2016 at the Plimoth Plantation in Plymouth Massachusetts but was reignited today on June 19, 2017. 

My wife approached me this morning and said, "I have something that's bothering me and I wanted to talk to you about it." That sentence between married couples has millions of stories attached to it and most begin with a raised pulse and end with a slammed door. Today was different, the conversation led to a heartfelt apology and this attempt to make amends.

Plimoth Plantation
Last October we were on vacation in Cape Cod. One day we decided to take a day trip to Plymouth Mass. After visiting Plymouth Rock and the Mayflower II, we headed to the Plimoth Plantation. Plimoth Plantation is a living museum. It's a replica of the original 17th century settlement of English colonists we know as the Pilgrims. We had been there for awhile and were venturing in and out of the various buildings when at some point we sat down on a bench. After resting a bit we continued our tour. About fifteen minutes later I spotted a pair of oxen and went to grab my phone to take a picture but it wasn't in my back pocket. I'd taken it out when we sat down and must have left it sitting there. The panic that sets in might not be the same as realizing you've lost your child in the mall but some might argue differently. My distress was right up there. One, because of how many contacts and information mine contains, and two because I'm a hopeless scatterbrain whose father always told him he'd lose his head if it wasn't screwed on. I caught up with my wife and told her what I'd done. She could see I was in a state of mild shock so she saved the reminder of how careless I am for another day. In the meantime I began retracing my steps in a frantic door to door search. I went back to a place where I knew I'd used the phone for a picture and asked the museum docent there if anyone had turned in a phone. She said no, but assured me that many items are turned in to lost and found on a daily basis. It was little conciliation at the time. As I headed back through the crowd to find my wife she was walking toward me. She had an excited look on her face. She said I think someone found your phone. She pointed to a women and her three children.  There was a teenage daughter, another one around eight or nine and a little boy about seven. With my heart pounding I approached the four of them. I'm sure they knew what I was about to say. The mother reached her hand out and said, "Is this your phone?" The little boy had found the phone on the bench and the family had been looking for anyone who might have lost it. I assured her I was the owner and showed her that my thumbprint would open it. 

If you've ever misplaced a wallet, phone, car or child and ultimately found them safe and sound you will understand how happy, relieved, and grateful I was at that moment. I couldn't thank the women and her children enough. I pulled out a twenty dollar bill and went to hand it to the little boy as a small token of appreciation. The mother lovingly pulled the bill from the little boys hand and returned it to me. She said she appreciated the gesture but it wasn't necessary. She wanted the children to learn that they'd done a good thing and that reuniting someone with something they'd lost was reward enough. It was a wonderful lesson for all six of us. I handed her a business card with my Raining Iguanas Blog address on it and told her I would be repay them by writing about the experience. I asked if I could take their picture to include with the post. As you can see from the photo at top of the page she had a beautiful family inside and out. She took the card, thanked me, and the four of them walked away hand in hand. It was the highlight of our vacation. 

It was his fault! 
But now back to paragraph number two where my wife wanted to talk to me about something that had been bothering her. She heard me tell those children and their mother that I would be writing a story about their act of kindness. She knows me as a man of my word. She also holds me to my commitments. I can vouch for that fact because we celebrated our 43rd wedding anniversary less than a week ago. It had been haunting her that I never followed through with my promise and she felt strongly that I needed to right a wrong and get to writing my public thank you letter to my anonymous family of angels. 

So here it is: 

To the women and her children who found and returned my cell phone last October 8, 2016 I want to publicly thank you for your honesty and kindness. I apologize for my tardiness with this post. A phone has little value compared to teaching our children about doing the right thing. There was a bigger lesson learned here though and it was a 62 year-old man learning it. When you look children in the eye and tell them you're going to do something you better follow through. You never know who's paying attention. In this case it was my wife. I'm glad she didn't let me off the hook. I'm glad I married a women who spent eight months bothered that her husband needed to make something right and told him so. I hope those children didn't tear up that business card. I hope their mother clicks on this blog some day and sees this long overdue acknowledgment. I never got the name of that family. If anyone reading this blog recognizes them please let them know how grateful I was to get my phone back. They reaffirmed my belief that the world is brimming with good people who go unrecognized. To that family and anyone else who has ever returned a valuable item to a frantic soul, I thank you for keeping my trust in my fellow humans alive. 

Peace on Earth,

John Greenwood

Raining Iguanas 

Plymouth Rock


  1. It is never too late to express gratitude (good job, Mrs. G)!

  2. Fabulous - better later than never... and I'm sure your gratitude showed on your face at the time. But, as an advocate for gratitude, I'm all for writing thank you notes, be it by blog or by email/letter...