Man repeatedly calls late wife's voicemail

Over at MobHappy, Russell Buckley comments on a news story about an elderly gentlemen who for years has called his late wife's Verizon voicemail just to hear her voice. During a system change though, the message was lost. Apparently though, Verizon heard about the sad situation, found a back-up of the old greeting, and restored it. Link


  1. Would be nice for them to put it on a CD and mail it to him, in case of further system changes.

  2. That’s very very sad. I feel for the man. But somehow Verizon’s action almost restores some faith in humanity.

  3. That’s a nice story and good on Verizon .

    If it had happened in the UK British Telecom would have lost the recording and then sent the old gentleman a bill !

  4. #4 Caledonian Jim

    Please don’t self-link in the comments… that’s what your profile is for. Thanks.

  5. I agree with #1- send him a copy of the message, otherwise the cynic in me is saying that the only reason they’re doing this is so he’ll keep that account active and they reap the monthly service charge.

  6. After my grandfather passed away, every time I called my grandmother I loved to hear the outgoing message on their answering machine — it didn’t even have my grandfather’s voice on it, rather, it was my dad saying “no one is here to take your call at the moment” and I knew in my heart that it meant that both grandma and grandpa were out of the house. Even that indirect reference to a still-living grandfather comforted me.

    I still save my grandmothers’ voicemails, just in case.

    It’s the ephemera, the day to day hellos, that really get you. Like in American Beauty when Carolyn goes into Lester’s closet and grabs his long row of shirts and weeps and weeps.

  7. I fear and distrust telcos of all shades as much as the next bb reader, but I have to admit I’m a sucker for stories like this. Good on Verizon.

  8. My aunt does something similar. When my uncle died, his voice was still on the answering machine and she left his voice there as the outgoing message. It’s somewhat comforting, and a little odd at the same time, to hear his voice when you get the machine.

    Kudos to Verizon for their humanity.

  9. Good grief, this is eerily like a recent television show episode where a psychotic manga artist calls his girlfriend’s voice mail after she’s been murdered by a gang. Don’t ask me what show that would be as I don’t recall.

    Yes, good for Verizon but it’s obvious that they are milkiing the good publicity from this.

  10. Looks like there is a login glitch today.

    This is sad, but not unheard of by me.
    I work at Radio Shack and I’ve had more than one person come to me seeking a way to get a loved one’s voice off of the telephone answering machine or some other source.

    There are off-the-shelf solutions as long as there’s someone around to help with the technical details.

  11. #12 It was Criminal Minds. ;)

    I’ve only seen about 4 or 5 eps of that show, but that was one of them.

  12. I understand completely.
    When my mother died, I took over her cell phone account and kept her outgoing message.

    I left it on for my dad and myself to call on occasion for about 3 years, but after awhile, people weren’t leaving messages and I had to explain it so often and it was an odd story for them so I changed it, but it was very nice to hear for that time.

    We fortunately have video of her, so it wasn’t the only copy of her voice that remains.

  13. After my grandfather passed away, my grandmother made a copy of a recording his voice off of the answering machine greeting on their phone line.

  14. @Guinness74: are you my cousin? My mom has my dad’s voice on her answering machine as her outgoing message. My aunt used to call all the time before she died, just to listen to his voice.

  15. @RedNikki, could be. My aunt (the one with the answering machine) lives in Alabama. I live in Kentucky.

  16. Same here– two students in my school died in a highway accident two years ago (along with almost the entire family of one of them).

    One of their parents kept calling his daughter’s cellphone several times a day, afterwards, just to hear her voice.

    But as KryspyJo said, Verizon’s probably spreading the story around as much as they can in a vain attempt to make everyone forget about their normally atrocious customer service. (Anybody remember this?)

  17. I did this for a girl at my work. Her dad had died the year before but she had a 5 second voicemail from him that she wanted to save to cd. Funny how a crappy, low bitrate sound file can evoke such a strong emotional response.

  18. thank you, verizon, for having a heart. too bad at&t can’t follow suit by taking 2 seconds to disclose the information of the person who stole and reactivated my iphone.

  19. Actually I did this too when my wife was very sick and in the intensive care…
    (she’s fine now btw)

  20. I lost two very close friends last year, and I still can’t bring myself to delete their numbers.

    I still send them texts sometimes…. neither had voicemail, which i’m not sure is good or bad, but i s’pose it doesn’t feel that healthy to me right now.. still trying to get one last message through to them.

  21. grieving is in steps. Whether by text messages, burnt paper prayers or visits to places once shared.

    A man is not dead so long as his name is spoken.

  22. I spent several years working for a telco here in Australia. The hardest call I ever took was from a woman who had been doing exactly this, calling her late husband’s voicemail to hear his voice. Unfortunately there was no backup in our case.

  23. My mother still keeps my step-father’s *outgoing* message on their home voicemail. He died about six years ago.

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