Illustration by Bob AulI was enjoying a nice dinner with my wife and five-month-old daughter at a restaurant in Costa Mesa. After ordering, I went to the men's room. To avoid soaking the ends of my cargo shorts in urine, I removed the heaviest item from my right pocket—my brand-new Canon Power Shot S-50 digital camera. To ensure that I wouldn't forget it, I hung it on the hook inside the toilet stall. There'd be no way to miss seeing it before exiting the stall . . . unless, of course, someone prevented me from seeing. And that's precisely what happened. The moment I flushed the toilet, the lights went out. You were the only other person in the pitch-black men's room. You mumbled, "Hmmm . . . blackout?" Concerned for the safety of my wife and infant daughter, I fumbled around to find the latch to the toilet stall door. When I did, I moved quickly in darkness toward where I thought the bathroom door was. Just as I got to the door, the lights blazed on. I quickly washed my hands and rushed back to my table. "Did the lights go off out here?" I asked my wife. "No," she replied. And that was that. We enjoyed our dinner, Barnes & Noble and an ice cream before heading home—where I realized my terrible blunder. My wife called the restaurant, but of course my beautiful camera was already gone, and with it every document of our child's life. We had not yet installed the hardware and software to download the pictures, so the memory card had about 190 photos of our baby from just a few minutes of age; 190 of the most cherished photos of our lives now gone.
It's not too late to do the right thing, or even the half-right thing: you can drop the memory card into an envelop and mail it to the Karl Strauss Brewery & Restaurant in Costa Mesa with a short note describing when you found the camera. Those pictures mean more to us than you could possibly imagine.
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