Man installs old-fashioned payphone in front yard, little boy uses it to find his way home

Amy Christie

A man who lives in Minnesota wanted to experience a little taste of the past as he installed a functioning payphone right in his front yard.

As it turns out, the novelty didn't just serve to make neighbors and bystanders smile. It also helped a little boy who got lost and used the old push-button to get back home.

What are the details?

Brian Davis, 48, lives in Andover, Minnesota, and felt that setting up the old device would add a much-needed "little bit of fun" to his neighborhood.

The man meant to "remind people what life was like before we were all on our cellphones."

"It was just a bucket list thing that I always kind of wanted to do. I was bored one day, and I started googling," the man shared with The Epoch Times.

Once he located a seller online, the man drove to Waverly and picked up the wares. He admitted the old phone wasn't in good shape, but he soon found a company that was able to replace some of the old-fashioned parts and restore the device so it could be used again.

And it turned out that the phone was a bit grumpy too. Davis was confused in the beginning when the outdated phone still wasn't working. As soon as he talked to his parents, he found the solution, though. They knew more about landlines phone and could give him valuable tips to have the phone up and running in no time.

Once he figured out the wiring issues, the phone was revived and worked properly.

"We hooked it up to their landline. We figured out the problem was that I wasn't adding the coins first. I thought you dialed the number first—that's what I thought I remembered—and then you added the money," David explained.

The man did have some reservations about installing the phone in his front yard since he thought neighbors might laugh or react unkindly.

"Honestly, I was a little nervous, and I thought some of the neighbors would have thought I was a little crazy or something. So, when I went about installing it, I put a big moving blanket over it," Davis added.

He needed to install a concrete base for the old phone, and he also ran phone lines underground so no one would be able to steal it. However, he's convinced all his efforts were worth it.

"As soon as I knew it was a go, I took the blanket off, and kind of walked away and smiled," the man said.

The coin-operated phone has garnered plenty of smiles, though not much cash. However, the delight it brings makes everyone who happens to pass by remember what it was like before smartphones got here.

The man shared that he saw plenty of people taking photos close to the payphone, and a few were using it.

At the beginning of the month, something special happened that proved the phone's usefulness.

The man spotted a little boy who seemed to be playing close to the phone.

"I saw him out there as he was talking on the phone, and I know you can dial 911 on that phone. I decided to go outside because I thought the odds of him having four quarters was probably pretty rare," Davis said.

The boy had been paying a visit to his grandparents, and he had gotten lost. As soon as he saw the payphone, he used the push button to dial and get help.

"I went back in the house, and a minute went by, and there was an officer outside of the phone. Within a couple of minutes, a couple more squad cars showed up," Davis recalls.

The man revealed that the boy's grandparents had been out looking for him too, and when they saw the cars coming that way, they stopped by the house, found the little boy, and went home together.

So, besides making neighbors smile and offering a different kind of entertainment, the payphone has also solved a dangerous situation.

"I would recommend it, maybe having some miscellaneous people with payphones throughout the city isn't such a bad idea," Davis concluded, wondering if there was a chance his idea might spread throughout the city.


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Amy Christie is a passionate writer and journalist, always striving to bring out the positive and create meaningful connections.

Dallas, TX

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