E-Mail Chain Sends Lost Digital Camera Back to Owner

A woman who found a digital camera outside Ohio Stadium located the owner by uploading a picture from it and e-mailing the image to a batch of Ohio State football fans.

Within 48 hours of sending the e-mail to 14 friends, Michelle Montgomery declared her social experiment a success. She was contacted by Kevin John, 45, of Shelby, who learned through a chain of e-mailers in the Buckeye network that Montgomery had his camera.

"It shows the power of the Internet, e-mail and the Buckeye network. It's amazing how many Buckeye fans are out there," said John, a 1986 Ohio State University graduate.

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John lost the camera outside the stadium at the Sept. 1 Ohio State-Youngstown State football game after asking a cheerleader to take pictures of him and his 10-year-old son Noah posing with Brutus Buckeye, the team mascot.

Montgomery found the camera on her way to the game. Rather than using the university's lost-and-found service, she sent an e-mail to friends with a picture attached asking the recipients to circulate the message among other Buckeye fans.

Hundreds of e-mails later, John learned from two people that someone in Columbus had found his camera.

Montgomery said the experience has taught her about the Internet's capacity to do good.

"Think of the way we could use it if we wanted to do something meaningful and powerful in the world," she told The Columbus Dispatch.