Oh, man, guys. This one's a doozy. Part mystery, part love story, part "Crap, where's my phone?"
According to The Huffington Post, a man named Alex Tom's Subaru Forrester was part of an airbag recall, so he brought it into a repair shop to get it fixed. While the mechanic was replacing the faulty airbag, he found an old iPhone 4s in the dashboard's airbag compartment.
It wasn't Tom's phone, so naturally, he consulted his Facebook network to help him solve this mystery.
The phone was dead when the mechanic found it, but Tom charged it and turned it on to see if he could find out who it belonged to. He found a blurry background photo on the phone's home screen.
To add further mystery, the iPhone found in Tom's Subaru appeared to be stuck in airplane mode, and was displaying that the date was Saturday, January 3 (even though it is currently April.)
Tom did some sleuthing and found that the last year that January 3 fell on a Saturday was 2015. He also noticed that the phone had an AT&T sim card.
That's when Tom's Facebook friend, Bobby, had an idea. Why not try plugging the iPhone into a computer?
Tom decided to take Bobby's suggestion. When he plugged the phone into the computer, he discovered that it was named "Sully's iPhone." The only problem was Tom couldn't remember anyone named Sully who would've been in his car.
It may seem that Tom had hit a dead end. Until, that is, he discovered a way to access the phone's notifications. He found a weather notification for wherever the phone was on that Saturday in January (75 degrees with a high of 91), and most interestingly, a notification from the dating app Coffee Meets Bagel.
A mysterious woman named Bonnie and the possibility for romance was all it took for the growing mass of people following Tom's post to spring into action.
The Huffington Post reports that one group of people cross-referenced locations that had a high of 91 degrees on January 3, 2015, and another group posted an ad to Craigslist missed connections in the areas the first group found, hoping to find Bonnie. (It is truly inspiring how dedicated these people are to finding the phone's owner.)
To everyone's complete surprise, the ad worked. Alex Tom's friend Logan Roberts received an email from Coffee Meets Bagel's customer support saying they knew who the message belonged to, and copied him on an email with the mysterious Sully himself.
The comment thread on Tom's Facebook post exploded with joy, and everyone demanded to know who this mysterious Sully was. Tom jumped in to introduce him.
It turns out Sully and Tom had guided rafting trips on the American River together over the summer of 2014, and Sully lost his phone in Tom's car during a weekend trip that June. Tom explained that a lot of people put their phones in airplane mode while they're on the river because there's no service out there. No one can figure out why the phone was displaying a date in January.
Sully himself eventually came forward to thank everyone for tracking down his long-lost iPhone and provide a much-anticipated follow-up on the mysterious Bonnie.
So this won't be the greatest love story of our time, but it is still a great story. I'm going to be so mad if it doesn't appear on This American Life soon.