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Lost, then found! Widower breaks down hearing late wife's voice on phone message

Stan Beaton

It's just an ordinary answering machine message.

"Sorry, at the moment Stan and Ruby are not available. But if you please leave your phone number and your name after the tone, we will get back to you as soon as possible."

But to Stan Beaton of West Yorkshire, England, who lost his wife Ruby 12 years ago to stomach cancer, it wasn't an ordinary answering machine message: It was the last link he had to her voice, one he listened to frequently for years. 

"Any time I felt low, I knew I always had her voice near," he told the Daily Mail.

Then came an upgrade by his phone service, Virgin Mobile, and the message he'd been promised would never be erased — was.

"When it disappeared, it really, really, really did hurt," the 68-year-old told the Telegraph.

But in this digital age, what is lost can sometimes be found again. Virgin Mobile assigned nearly a dozen employees to sift through thousands of messages over three days, until they actually found Beaton's precious needle in a haystack.



And his reaction, captured by a BBC Radio Leeds reporter on a YouTube video that's gone viral, will surely leave you in tears — just as hearing the precious recording again left Beaton.

"That's her," he says as the message begins playing in the video. "Wonderful. Wonderful. Absolutely marvelous.

"It's just a wonderful, wonderful sound that I thought was lost forever," he said. "[Virgin] has made this old age pensioner extremely happy."

Now that's customer service.

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