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Oklahoma farmer loses iPhone, found in Japan 9 months later

An iPhone is recovered 9 months later. It was lost in Oklahoma and found in Japan.
Photo by David Paul Morris/Getty Images

When Kevin Whitney lost his iPhone last October, he probably thought that he’d never see it again. The farmer from Chickasha, Okla. lost his Apple smartphone along with the irreplaceable family photos on it; it had fallen from his shirt pocket into a silo as he was unloading grain for shipment. Months later, his iPhone was found by a mill worker in Japan who arranged to send his unscathed phone back to Oklahoma.

Whitney’s iPhone arrived in Kashima, Japan along with 2 million bushels worth of sorghum. The phone travelled down the Arkansas and Mississippi rivers, loaded onto a cargo ship in Convent, La. and through the Panama Canal before reaching the island of Hokkaido. The mill employee who found Whitney’s iPhone called the shipment center in Louisiana, who in turn called the Oklahoma farmer in May to have it delivered back to him.

“It’s crazy, I can’t believe it,” Whitney said. “What really shocked me about it all was what a small world it is. There a lot of a lot of meaningful pictures on it so we are real glad to get the phone back.”

The iPhone was returned to the Chickasha farm without a scratch and as functional as the day he’d lost it. Among the photos stored on his long-lost phone were from a vacation and even his daughter’s wedding. Whitney is pretty fortunate considering most of us would rejoice with the acquisition of a free iPhone, though he’ll not soon forget this act of unselfishness.

If this story has taught you anything, you should back up your phone immediately. Use the cloud, drive, or simply download all your stuff onto your computer. How this iPhone made it from Oklahoma to Japan and back again is a lucky act of kindness that may never repeat itself.

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