Laura Hernandez was having the time of her life when she joined family and friends on a trip to Massachusetts earlier this month.
The ESL student, who was visiting from New York City, was attending a party on Aug. 20 in Rockport, a coastal town she quickly fell in love with,
“This is a nice town, people are nice,” she said.
Hernandez snapped photos of the North Shore’s beautiful coastline on that sunny Saturday, the perfect recipe for water activities.
At the party, she asked to borrow a paddleboard and try it out in the sea.
“It was actually my first time paddleboarding,” she remarked. “I was so excited.”
Hernandez took her phone — loaded with precious, unbacked data — and put it in a pink water-proof pouch. She then grabbed the paddleboard and took it to Back Beach, where her excitement was short-lived.
Hernandez tried to stand on the board when she lost her balance and fell into the water — her phone going in with her. It dropped 25 feet to the bottom of the ocean, where it stayed for about 20 hours until an unlikely diver picked it up.
Vanessa Kahn was completing a scuba diving course early Sunday morning when Hernandez asked if she and the group could search for it. Khan returned about 40 minutes later with Hernandez’s phone in hand.
“A bright pink case like just emerged right in front of my face, I was like, ‘oh my gosh I just found it,’ Kahn said. “I waved the phone because I saw her sitting on the beach and I just saw her go: ‘oh!’”
Hernandez was shocked.
“My face was like ‘what! I can’t believe this!’ And once she was out of the water I was like ‘Vanessa, can I give you a hug?” she recalled.
Both women embraced each other in happiness.
Little did Hernandez know that Kahn left a surprise on her phone — the divers took a selfie in the water once they recovered her phone.
“If she tells the story, no one is going to believe that a group of divers found her phone in the bottom of the ocean, so now she has a selfie of all of us to prove it,” Kahn said.
And little did Kahn expect a reward: $300 for all the trouble.
“For me that paid for all of the gear that I had to rent for that class, so it worked out so perfectly,” Kahn said. “She got her phone back, I got a free dive class, we were both happy. And now we’re friends.”
They’re friends with a story to share, and for Hernandez, it’s also a lesson.
“Even when you think that something is impossible in life – it applies to everything – miracles do happen,” she said.