*Editor’s Note: In this excerpt, podcast producer/author John Siciliano describes how a complicated installation of his Android phone saved his life. This is the second of a three-part instalment. In the third installment, Siciliano details a life-saving moment for a man who had a car accident and got a “black box” in his car.
As I spent more time in the car–taking in the scenery of a summer day, and staying ready for a concert, a trip to the supermarket, or a night out with friends–I started noticing that my phone kept staying out of my hands, sliding into the dashboard or the glove box, but never out of reach.
Then, last summer, when my firstborn, Ryan, was a few months old, I rushed from somewhere in Manhattan to my apartment across the country, his crying keeping me awake.
My phone was within range, but still tucked away in the glove compartment, blocking my easy access. In the back seat, my wife suggested we look for a storage spot under the seat. But just then, I heard a strange noise. It was coming from the back seat–a pocket, a tiny spiral staircase, to the street. I flipped it over, but it was trapped by the seat, my wife eventually forcing it open.
Inside, there was Ryan. He had died.
Without question, the most stressful day of my life happened as a result of my second child’s death. I could have slammed the iPhone shut with a force that would have destroyed it. Instead, I used a particularly annoying feature on my phone to my advantage, using the phone’s flashlight to first identify where the loud noise was coming from, then create a visually clear picture. I think it was a large idea, and it almost worked. I never pulled the phone out.
I never had the chance to show Ryan what the phone was used for. But I had presented myself as someone who cares, someone who thought hard about my call to make her life a little easier and who was, in fact, a good enough friend that I thought she might take my advice. By choosing to remember the little detail, I found a way to document this moment and comfort her.
I can’t say the phone saved her or Ryan’s life. But I know it could have.
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