Photo finish: B.C. man finds Australian couple who lost memory card
Published Sunday, October 20, 2013 6:38PM PDT
Last Updated Sunday, October 20, 2013 6:43PM PDT
A Vancouver photographer has succeeded in his search for the owners of a memory card he found in Stanley Park last weekend – despite them living half a world away.
Last weekend CTV News reported that Thom Hamilton stumbled upon a memory card containing 1,200 photos of what looked like a couple on a worldwide tour, including destinations in Asia, Europe and across Canada.
After plugging in the card at home, Hamilton became determined to reunite the lost memories with the people in the photos. He posted the pictures on Facebook in hopes of sparking a lead.
Key clue found on sweatshirt
Dozens of people commented on the photo album offering their take on how to track down the mystery couple. But it was Hamilton who came across what would be the pivotal clue that cracked the case.
“This is the photo that essentially solved the case,” he said. “When I zoomed in on the gentleman’s shirt here, it has the name of this festival that happens in Australia.”
Hamilton then contacted the nearest major newspaper in Perth and convinced a reporter to run the story. That prompted a huge response, and tips began to stream in.
“Next thing I know is I had a friend request, someone was telling me they’re the cousin of the couple in the photos, and then the whole thing just took off,” he said. “Within about half an hour I had an email from Maree, who was actually the owner of the card.”
“Hello Thom, my name is Maree Lindberg”
It turns out Maree Lindberg and her husband Jock, who are farmers in Western Australia, were travelling the world to visit apprentices who had lived and worked on their farm in the last 20 years.
“So they were going from country to country to country to check in on some people they had taught throughout their life,” he said.
In an email, the couple told Hamilton their camera bag was stolen on the last leg of their trip in Vancouver – where the last photos seen on the memory card were taken.
“I can still hardly believe it, I never imagined that I would see any of the photos again,” Maree wrote. “I also want to say a huge thank you to you for all the effort you’ve gone to to locate us.”
But Hamilton doesn’t feel like what he did was that heroic. “I don’t really feel like I went to that big of lengths. I feel like it’s something, if anyone fell into this story, they would do as well,” he said.
The power of social media
On Monday, Hamilton will complete the story by sending the very appreciative couple the memory card they thought they had lost forever.
He’s now considering a trip to Australia to visit the Lindbergs. “It would be neat to meet them, you know, stuff like this just doesn’t happen every day. It would be fun to keep up and see what they’re up to,” he said.
The happy ending would likely not have been possible without social media, Hamilton said.
“It’s a little bit mind-blowing that there’s almost 7-billion people on the Earth, they could have been from anywhere, and within 10 days, by the start of a Facebook page, this all fell into place.”
The Lindbergs are thankful it did.
With a report from CTV British Columbia's Shannon Paterson