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In the digital age, photos are uploaded to Instagram instead of printed and preserved, and love notes are transcribed in a text rather than a handwritten letter. That’s what makes physical relics of the past so precious. But digital relics can hold just as much meaning.
In December of last year, when Virgin made an update to their phone system, one of those precious digital relics was lost forever. At least, that’s what 68-year-old Stan Beaton thought. The widower from Mirfield, England, had been holding on to a voicemail from his late wife for the past ten years and listening to his dearly departed’s voice “if I felt low,” Beaton said.
When Beaton learned that the voicemail left by his late Ruby before her death in 2003 had been erased in December, he was crushed. “I just could not tell people how it affected me at that time,” Beaton told the BBC. “It really did devastate me.”
Without anywhere to turn, the Mirfield man contacted Virgin to report the tragic loss in hopes that they might be able to resurrect the audio file. The company responded to the call, putting 11 of their engineers on the hunt for three days. Executive director of engineering at Virgin Media, Rob Evans, likened the hunt to “searching for a needle in a haystack.”
But much to the delight of Stan and the welling of our tear ducts, the team was able to retrieve the message and preserve it so he would never be without the voice of his dear Ruby.
After heading the once lost message, he decreed it “a wonderful, wonderful sound that I thought was lost forever.” Stan, we couldn’t agree more.
Greg Seals is a former social media producer and contributing writer for the Daily Dot. He specializes in creating and covering viral content on platforms that include Tumblr, Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter.