Good Samaritan Tracks Down Lost Digicam Owners

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A nightmare scenario for any traveling family. Touring the sites. Managing a tight budget. Keeping the kids in line. So many interruptions and distractions. So many new places. Only seconds to figure out if this is your train or bus stop. And when the doors slam shut behind you, a question pops into your mind.

Where's my camera?

Gone. Thundering away at speed on a train or bus. Sitting underneath your seat on the plane. Laying forgotten on a bench in a quiet park. You make a few calls, frantically hoping for the impossible, but it does not come. Worse than the financial burden of dropping a few hundred dollars on the ground...

The memories. The moments. The smiles and the tears. Everything you captured on your vacation is gone too. That's where the story usually ends, friends.

Enter good samaritan, Brian Pandya

A father of two who works as an IP litigation lawyer and writer in Washington, D.C., Brian found a digicam abandoned on a DC Metro train. Scrolling through hundreds of photos taken over the last few years -- everything from a trip to Philadelphia, D.C., birthdays, and grandparents -- he realized the lost digicam likely belonged to a tourist family visiting the area from Weston, Florida. However, calling the Metro's Lost and Found department proved to be a dead end because the camera had not been reported missing.

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Brian took to Twitter with friend Chris Gaskill, asking for help to find the camera's owners. Pictures from the camera went viral, showing up on places like Reddit, Facebook, and Imgur. The Washington Post even wrote an article, but no one knew the identity of the mystery family of four smiling before the Washington Monument.

Luckily, Brian's co-workers, Rachel Hunnicutt and Lindsey Plummer, noticed one particular photograph taken at Broward's Park Avenue Gymnastics on December 2, 2012. They called the Weston, Florida location and sent the photo to manager Katie Cohen, who recognized this particular gym not as Weston, but Cooper City.

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A few short calls later, twelve days after the camera had originally been lost, Brian Pandya dropped the digicam into a FedEX pack and shipped it home to owners Bob and Sunny Riling, who had recently traveled to Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. Bob Riling couldn't believe his luck, saying Brian "went beyond what I'd expect from people. I'm so grateful. I'm still in shock about it."

I love stories like this, folks. They make my day. They give me hope. Brian Bandya and Chris Gaskill and everyone who took a little extra the time in their busy days to get a camera back home deserve a rousing round of applause for their combined efforts. So if you feel like patting someone on the back today, feel free to hit up Brian and Chris on Twitter @BrianPandya or @ChrisGaskill and say, good job.