For seven days, the case holding Karrigan Coan’s cellphone, driver’s license and credit cards sat beneath 19 feet of water at the bottom of Perry Lake’s Rock Creek Marina, northeast of Topeka.
The Topeka woman spent the last $ 100 she had in cash to hire a diver, who wasn’t able to find the items. She thought she’d never see them again.
But another diver, Evan Thezan, searched free of charge and found everything after only two minutes in the water on Saturday, Coan said.
Thezan saw the situation as a chance to “pay it forward” to help someone in need, he told The Capital-Journal on Wednesday.
“Now I hope to do the same for him or someone else one day,” Coan said. “It brings joy for me to help out others any time I can. I can only imagine how he felt that day.”
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T-Mobile cellphone still works after spending week at bottom of marina
Coan said she out found Tuesday that her T-Mobile cellphone, which she’d been keeping in a bowl of uncooked rice to suck out the moisture, still worked.
“Big shoutout to Evan,” she said.
Coan accidentally dropped her phone about 8 pm May 28, after she got off a boat at Rock Creek Marina. She was walking on the dock toward the parking lot, with plans to return to her campsite.
Coan said she was talking on her phone when it slipped out of her left hand, hit the dock once and bounced into the water.
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Coan and a friend jumped into the water and tried to dive to the bottom but realized it was “way too deep,” she said.
“I thought:’Oh no. There goes my phone, cards and license and all of my pictures I have taken,” Coan said.
She tried unsuccessfully that evening to use a bait caster to pick up her phone from the bottom, then began looking for help on social media.
Diver’should’ve been born with gills’
Coan hired a diver, who searched for 75 minutes but didn’t find her phone.
She also talked to Thezan but didn’t hire him.
“I couldn’t afford it after hiring the first guy and with all my cards being at the bottom of the lake,” Coan said. “I used my last $ 100 in cash to get the first guy out there.”
The following Friday, June 3, Coan got a Facebook message from Thezan asking if she’d had any luck finding her phone. She told him she hadn’t.
Thezan, who has been diving for seven years, knew Coan couldn’t pay him.
Still, he told The Capital-Journal, he decided to look for her phone free of charge, as an act of kindness and because he loves to swim and dive.
“I am head-over-heels infatuated with scuba diving,” Thezan said. “Should’ve been born with gills!”
Grateful Topeka woman will try to pay it forward
Coan said Thezan told her he was willing to dive “just for shits and giggles” to see if they could actually find her phone.
“And I was like whaaat?” she said. “No way. Am I reading this clearly? This guy is going to take his time to come out and dive for me at no cost, although gas is at an all-time high, not only that but just taking the time to do it in general? “
Coan said she told Thezan: “Hey, you have no idea how much that’s appreciated, your doing this for me. I promise I’ll pay it forward somehow … someway.”
After Thezan found her phone Saturday, Coan posted a message thanking him on the Facebook page of The Topeka Experience.
“HUUUUGE shout out to Evan Thezan,” she wrote. “This guy is the frickin man and one hell of a diver if ya ask me. I 1000 percent recommend checkin this dude out if you ever have a slip up like me and lose your phone or any personal belongings in a body of water. What a rush man! Once again, I couldn’t thank you enough !!! “
Other members of the group asked Coan if her phone worked, and she said she didn’t yet know.
Coan told The Capital-Journal she took the phone out of the rice on Tuesday evening and attached it to a charger.
After doing some yardwork, she said, “I just came back inside, grabbed my phone, hopped in my aunt’s car and pushed the power button and it CAME ON!”
The whole experience has been “crazy and mind-blowing,” Coan said.
“I just can’t even come up with words to say or show my gratitude and how appreciative and thankful I am for the pure act of kindness he displayed to me that day,” she said.
Tim Hrenchir can be reached at email@example.com or 785-213-5934.