Queensland Rail has reunited a 13-year-old boy with his cochlear implant worth $10,000 after it went missing on the rail network, returning his ability to hear.
While sorting through items in the lost property office, Queensland Rail Operational Services Coordinator, Tracey said the team discovered the cochlear implant and, recognising it's personal and monetary value, started a mission to find and return it to its owner.
"While undertaking a regular review of all the items collected in the office, we came across a cochlear implant earpiece," said Tracey.
"We immediately knew this was no ordinary lost property and that the item likely held significant personal value to its owner, in addition to being quite costly – valued at up to $10,000, in fact.
"We reached out to a local cochlear implant specialist in the hope they might be able to assist in locating the implant's owner by quoting the implant's serial number.
Unfortunately for Tracey and her team, no record could be found for the earpiece and they were referred to another specialist in the area, who ran into the same problem, before Tracey was pointed in the direction of Cochlear Australia.
"Within 10 minutes of receiving the implant's details, Cochlear Australia advised us that they had the owner's details and would contact them to advise them their implant had been located," Tracey said.
Soon after, a relieved and grateful Daniel Collins, father of 13-year-old Seth who owned the implant, reached out to Queensland Rail's Lost Property team to arrange its return.
"Mr Collins was unable to travel to the lost property office at Central station, but he let us know he lived on the Ferny Grove line – coincidentally, the same line as one of our Lost Property Supervisors," Tracey said.
"They arranged to meet on the way home from work to reunite Seth with the missing item - a great ending to the story and a rewarding experience for the team who had been able to return the item to them in person."
Mr Collins said the timing was miraculous as the cochlear implant they had bought to replace their son's lost piece had stopped working the previous day.
"We were overwhelmed with relief to be able to get back our son's original cochlear implant, especially after the replacement piece stopped working," he said.
"Our son's condition prevents him from hearing clearly without the aid of his cochlear implants, so it was a huge relief to get his original piece back which he has had since he was five years old.
"A big thanks to the Queensland Rail Lost Property staff who went out of their way to find and return the item to us."
Every year, Queensland Rail receives more than 22,000 lost items from across the state-wide network, but just a small number are reunited with their rightful owners. After two months of storage, unclaimed items are donated to charities.
In 2019, 1117 pairs of glasses were donated to Lions for Sight, 139 bicycles were donated to St Vincent De Paul, Lifeline, the Salvation Army and Link Vision.
"From mannequins to violins, the lost property office can be home to a vast array of items found across the network," Tracey said.
"While we're proud to be able to donate unclaimed items to people in need, we encourage anyone who has lost their personal possessions on the rail network to get in touch by calling 13 16 17 during business hours.
"Alternatively, they can submit a lost property form via our website, or come in and see us at our new office located at Brisbane's Central station between 7.30am - 5.00pm; Monday to Friday."