A couple of years back, I was sitting waiting for a meeting to start and checking my emails. I noticed there was an email from Sam. (I've spent the last couple of weeks searching through archived mail for it, but to no avail sadly).
In really really tiny writing, he told me that he had lost his phone at school. He'd only had it a few months - we'd come to an arrangement regarding the bills and he'd bought it on a plan.
Well when the story came out, it turned out that it had actually been stolen. While out on the oval, a kid had asked to look at it, and it was the last Sam saw of it. Another thing I found out later was that I knew this kid (I'd taught him a couple of years previously), and he was seriously messed up. It wasn't a surprise to find out it was him.
It said a couple of things about Sam too - that he was trusting enough (or naive enough) to let someone else take his phone from him, and that he didn't like making trouble. He'd sent me the email rather than reporting it to the school.
I went one better than that. I reported it to both the school and the police. They (both the school and the police) were very good about it. The police came around that evening and took a statement, but we all knew we'd never see the phone again.
So Sam had to make do with my old phone for a while. Because we still had more than a year's contract payments to go, I wasn't going to go out and get him another one. I told him that if he wanted a new one, he'd have to save up.
And save he did. He was very good about it. By Christmas (3-4 months later) he had almost enough. And when Christmas Day pushed him over the edge, guess where he wanted to go?
That's right, by 10am on Boxing Day, he had his new phone...
Still, he persisted with it, it did enough that he could still actually use it. But by the end of 2009 he was talking new phones. We even took a phone catalogue to dinner on my birthday to talk about the cool new phones we both might get.
We all know how that ended up...
It's amazing though how important Sam's phone was to him. He was never without it, and texted his friends well into the night (we often heard the telltale 'beep beep' at all hours).
And the phone gave us a little of Sam after he was gone. It sits on his shelf not doing much, but it's there if we need it. I've also left his sim card active, so that we can call and hear his voice on the voice mail ("Hi, it's Sam, leave a message") whenever we need to remember what it sounded like...