A Plainfield mother came to Chicago for her first night out since having her new baby boy, but what was supposed to be an anniversary celebration with her husband quickly became devastating for the young mom.
Jami Mae Aguilar went to Social 25 and around Chicago’s River North neighborhood Saturday evening but soon discovered her cell phone was missing.
The phone, which contained photos and videos of her son’s first three months of life, had not been backed up onto the cloud and she soon realized those precious images were gone.
“My photos since 2015 were on this phone,” Aguilar told NBC 5. “They include video of us telling our families we were expecting, the video of announcing his gender after 9 months of waiting till his birth. Our first vacation, which was 3 weeks in an RV with a newborn. But most importantly, its pictures and video with the people that won’t always be here.”
Among the images, were photos of her 82-year-old father, who has been in poor health and recently battled cancer, meeting his grandson.
“The precious photos of how much he loves this little boy and how happy he is to be here to see him are priceless,” Aguilar said.
The situation is reminiscent of the heartbreak Aguilar’s family had suffered years earlier, when much of their family images were lost in Hurricane Katrina.
“That was a grief that none of us really recovered from,” she said. “The house can be rebuilt, but some things are gone forever. I am afraid I will now have to go through that all again.”
But she’s determined to make this time different.
Aguilar filed a police report and posted a plea on Facebook hoping someone may have found the phone or if it is being sold someone may be willing to return the memory card to her. She has offered up a $1,000 reward for the memory card alone.
“You can keep the phone,” her post read. “The reward is for the MicroSD.”
Aguilar said she’s offering the reward “because I have to know I have tried everything that I can.”
In just over 24 hours, Aguilar’s post has been shared hundreds of times.
“The support has been amazing,” she said. “I have had over 1,000 shares within 24 hours on different sites and countless comments and messages of people trying to help or reach out with their story trying to console me. It has been incredible seeing how a stranger will take time out of their day to try to help or make you feel better.”
While she knows her story is reaching many on social media, she hopes her message resonates with others.
“I just hope my message reaches the right person, or at least that everyone will go home and make sure their photos are always being stored in the right place,” she said.
Anyone who may know where Aguilar’s phone might be is being asked to email firstname.lastname@example.org.