Easy Come, Easy Go – The Lost GoPro

Not my photo, but this is exactly where I lost the camera.

“Make sure that your character is free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for God Himself has said, “I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you.” -Hebrews 13:5

On Monday I splurged and bought something I had been wanting for about a year: a GoPro Hero 3 with a headstrap mount for doing POV shooting. After a 3-year replacement plan and tax, it all came out to just pennies under $250. “Not too bad,” I told myself. Right away that afternoon I went out and shot my first video with it, and on Tuesday I made another video. Wednesday rolled around and I decided it would be a good idea to go swimming with it. It came with a waterproof case (which I had tested at home prior to going out) so why not? If it got wet, I had a warranty. So my brother and I went down to the cliffs here in town to go diving. “Perfect,” I thought. “This will make for some interesting footage.”

We parked, I put the camera on my head and hit record to film the entire experience, starting with the walk down the trail through the woods. It was almost 7:30, and the sun was getting ready to set, so the light filtering through the trees was almost perfect. The cliffs were packed with people when we got there, too. “Excellent,” I told myself. “This will definitely make for some good footage.” Making sure the camera was secured tightly to my head, I took off my shirt and shoes, set them aside, ran down, and jumped off the cliff. It was my first time going into the water all summer, so I was pretty excited. Then I hit the water.

It would seem that I didn’t account for physics. There is something about the upward force of water when your body is going down through it. As soon as I hit the water, the camera was ripped off of my head and it proceeded immediately to sink like a rock to the bottom. It was only 15 feet down, but I knew there was no going after it without proper scuba gear. The water was murky, the sun was already going down, and the bottom, though sandy, was littered with whatever people threw off the cliff. Most of this passed through my mind just before my head broke the surface. Onlookers gasped, and I heard a few voices above me saying, “Dude, he lost his camera!” 

Immediately accepting that the camera was gone and there was nothing I could do about it, I swam over to the low rock, grabbed the rope, and climbed back up the cliff. I wasn’t getting my camera back. However, a few people seemed genuinely concerned, so I told them half-jokingly, “If anyone wants to go down and get it, I’ll pay you a hundred bucks to retrieve it.” I then walked over to where my brother was and sat down. He dove down a few times trying to find it, but had no such luck. We both knew it was gone. I thanked him for trying and we continued diving anyway.

Later as we were getting ready to leave, I told him, “Ya know, that’s kind of a bummer, but it’s really not that big of a deal.” He looked at me and said, “Yeah, I figured. I could see it on your face as soon as you came out of the water that you were okay with it.” That statement shocked me more than losing the camera. I knew before that I’m not particularly attached to my things, but I didn’t really think I’d be so chill about losing something that I had just spend $250 on a couple days prior. Perhaps God really has been working in my heart, freeing me from the love of money and material possessions. 

Today I called Walmart’s customer care center as a “just in case” measure to see if anything could be done since it was still so close to the date of purchase. However, the gentleman I talked with confirmed what I had already figured: the warranty does not cover loss or theft, just damage and service. He did, however, direct me to GoPro and give me their number. Thanking him for his pointer, I hung up and called GoPro, where I talked with a woman who was seemed very sympathetic. She asked, “Was this your first time using a GoPro in the water?” I replied, “Yes, it was. I guess it’s a lesson learned, huh?” She told me that GoPro’s policy does not normally allow them to replace lost goods; only damaged and defective. “But,” she told me, “let me talk to my supervisor and see what we might be able to do for you.” She placed me on hold. I put my phone on “speaker” and set it down on the table. Seconds ticked by like minutes, and I decided to cook pannekaker to keep myself occupied. 

A voice burst forth from my phone and I ran across the kitchen to pick it up. “So I talked with my supervisor, and we’re going to send you a new GoPro Hero 3. You said you had a headstrap for it too, right?” “Yes,” I replied. “I was using the headstrap and it went down with the camera and the waterproof case.” She told me, “Okay, we’ll send you a waterproof case and a headstrap too, then.” I couldn’t believe what I was hearing, and literally fell to my knees in astonishment. I thanked her for being so kind, she gave me some parting tips, and the call ended. 

I am convinced that God is trying to teach me a lesson in this. Perhaps the lesson is that nothing is every truly lost. Perhaps God simply wanted to let me know, “Hey kiddo, I’m still here. I know you’ve had a rough few weeks, but I’m still here and I love you. Keep a chin up. You’ll get through this with my help.”

Sometimes, that’s just enough to get me by.


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