How Reddit Came to the Rescue for a Chandler Couple and Their 5-Year-Old Son

Categories: News analysis
sagandouglas.jpg
Volney Douglas
Reddit users helped out 5-year-old Sagan Douglas
On March 12, Chandler resident Volney Douglas went to the Internet with a problem -- someone had stolen a $3,500 device that helps his 5-year-old son Sagan communicate.

 

The family had just purchased the ALT-Chat device for Sagan, who has cerebral palsy and autism spectrum disorder, before thieves broke into Douglas' truck outside of his Chandler home and stole the device.

That's when Douglas went to the news aggregation and general discussion site reddit.com for help.

He posted that his wife was really upset about the theft of the device, which has no other function but to help users communicate via symbols, and said it was "messed up" that someone had stolen the device from Sagan.

The 'net has a stigma of being overrun by festering trolls (just ask Jessi Slaughter), but the users of reddit just about saved the day for the Douglas family.

"All I want is the device back," Douglas posted on reddit under the username "zasder." "I am not sure what else to do. I checked craigslist and eBay, but I have found nothing yet ... If you see this device show up, please let me know so that I can inform the police."

Reddit-ers did a quick check of the interwebs for the device, but then took their efforts to help a step further.

Douglas said it had taken six months to actually obtain the device for Sagan (yes, he notes, named after Carl Sagan), between saving up the $3,500 and navigating the insurance company, so the users at reddit went straight to the company that Douglas had gotten the device from.

The folks at reddit called and e-mailed the firm, Saltillo, then called and e-mailed some more.

By the time Douglas' wife had phoned the company to see what it could do about a replacement, employees at Saltillo knew all about it.

"They knew our name because of all the people from Reddit," Douglas later posted on the site. "The President of Saltillo, Dave Hershberger, said he had been contacted by dozens of people and that they would be willing to send a replacement until we work everything else out. My wife called, started explaining, and the lady on the phone knew the whole story. It should be here by Friday!!"

Hershberger told the Douglas family that they could hang on to the communicator until the family settled their claim with the insurance company for a new device, but, meanwhile, the advice and help from reddit users kept coming.

Users said a device similar to Sagan's $3,500 communication gizmo was available for the iPad, and other users said they had seen that kids with autism respond well iPads.

A reddit member sent Douglas the iPad software, but the family was still short an iPad.

That is, until a Scottsdale man donated an iPad to the Douglas family on Friday.

This happened after a bunch of folks at reddit tried to get Douglas to call up local media to pick up the story, which he was very hesitant about.

"I know that reddit is a good community and that is why I wanted the advice first," Douglas posts. "I am very conflicted because I do not want this issue to be a bother to people, but I want the device back."

Douglas eventually heeded the advice of the users of reddit, and phoned up The Arizona Republic.

Scottsdale commercial realtor Steven Goldstein saw the Republic article and donated an unwrapped iPad to the family that he'd won in a raffle a few months ago.

"It's no big deal," Goldstein told the Republic.

But it is a big deal -- for the father who had gone from typing a post on the Internet asking for advice to having what could be a functioning replacement because of a bunch of people behind keyboards.

To the surprise of no one, trolls still abound in the Internet -- like the guy who commented that maybe aliens stole the device.

But kudos to reddit for creating some feel-good from the web, especially for something that is way more redeeming than more pictures of "Sad Keanu" or "Scumbag Steve."

On a side note, if you know the person who was low enough to steal this device from Sagan, call the cops.


Sponsor Content

My Voice Nation Help
27 comments
XSoldier
XSoldier

This story, at least, has a happy ending. While I agree that the theft of the ALT-Chat was terrible, it was great to see people coming together to help. That has to be the best story I have read in a long time.

Anon
Anon

You can safely ignore anything LouFr has to say. He's been obsessed with badmouthing Reddit ever since he deleted his account there.

LouFr: It is absolutely creepy how fast you find and reply to anything and everything reddit related all over the web. Seek help.

BackToDigg
BackToDigg

Too bad I got a virus when I visited the site. They may help their own, but they aren't welcoming of newcomers.

Gibberish Mcanonymous
Gibberish Mcanonymous

redditor here. If you want help from us, name your kid Sagan. I mean, we're very nice people, but naming a kid after secular quasi-saint Carl Sagan doesn't hurt. Good luck pal, best of luck.

LoufisDishonest
LoufisDishonest

I remember him too. He's a fundamentalist Christian extremist and he gives all other Christians a bad name for his dishonest tactics. He got banned for chasing the admin hueypriest around for a good long while. When that happened he ran back to his blog and claimed evil secular atheists were the ones who banned him. He's a liar, plain and simple.

roxtafari
roxtafari

You did not get a virus from Reddit. Nice try though Digger. The subreddits are wildly different in how the respond to comments. If you were posting in r/politics or r/economics you are going to see some aggressive responses. Try r/trees or r/gonewild, they welcome everyone as long as you are polite.

D.Bush
D.Bush

Only a noob doesn't have adequate virus protection.

Volney
Volney

That would be some sort of amazing planning on my part, but thanks.

LouFisDishonest
LouFisDishonest

What, LouF? Didn't you get banned for harassing an admin on reddit?

Phantomprophet
Phantomprophet

Yeah, and he got downvoted for it too. That's how the reddit world works.

Heyjudedotname
Heyjudedotname

Also, philanthropists, saints, sinners, crooks, liars, charitable, cynical, optimistic, trolls, white nights, memes, truly horrible jokes and I could go on and on.

don't cherry pick.

Lou_Franklin
Lou_Franklin

Yes but then he was unbanned almost immediately. He deleted his own account voluntarily after posting one last "goodbye" post. He neglects to mention that, though.

Lou_Franklin
Lou_Franklin

Yes he got banned, but for only like a day or two. He whined to the admins and they unbanned him. Then he made a "goodbye" post, and deleted his own account voluntarily. Every time you mention him getting banned, it just feeds into the narrative he wants everybody to believe. The truth is, he chose to delete his own account, after he was UNBANNED.

Gibberish Mcanonymous
Gibberish Mcanonymous

White knights. FTFY. Aren't we just awesome sometimes?

Did you hear, that guy who won't deny raping a girl in 1990, Glenn Beck, attacked us recently?

Now Trending

Phoenix Concert Tickets

From the Vault

 

Loading...