NYPD will look for you till you find yourself
So, Sunday before Labor Day 2020, my wife Jane and I decided to finally pay a long-postponed visit to a former work friend of hers who had given birth to a baby girl six months before.
The Lady, Uche, had become my wife’s friend from a pharmaceutical company she worked for back in 2018, and they had kept in touch.
Since then, Uche had conceived and had a baby. Then she had invited us to visit and meet her Husband, Jomo, and the baby. They lived next to the Far Rockaway beach, Queens, New York, which had also become one of our favorite beaches this summer.
Anyway, the long-awaited day for the visit had arrived, which was the Sunday before labor day 2020. After running through a list of regular morning chores, workouts, and a to-do list, we got on the road. First, of course, we had to stop and pick up a gift. We eventually got to their house about two hours later than the 2 pm we had planned to be there.
What followed was greetings, talking amongst us, followed by a walk around the house, then carrying the baby, and finally settling down to a full lunch, a mixture of excellent Jamaican and Thai food, and more conversation.
When it got to almost 6 pm, we were yet to go to the beach. Our daughter, who loves the beach, got very restless and had started getting disappointed. Jomo, who turned out to be a very health and fitness conscious person, now put forth that it would be good for us as a group to work off all the food calories. So off all of us went two families with kids. One kid, our Daugther, was almost in tears because she wanted to get into the ocean quickly before the closing beach and sunset.
We all went walking on the walkway beside the beachfront.
After ten minutes of walking, our daughter and I went into the water to satisfy her love for the ocean; the others waited on the boardwalk. We stay there in the ocean waters for a few minutes.
After we both came out of the water, we joined the rest of the party and then kept walking a few more miles into the boardwalk. Then we made to turn around to head back. It was at that time that the commotion happened.
First, flashing lights on emergency vehicles coming from both sides of the street. Life and beach rescue services coming from all sides and the interval point closest to us. Then an NYPD police helicopter doing maneuvers you would expect mostly in movies and TV shows. Just that this time they were all converging in one area; clearly, they were trying almost certainly to look for someone.
We all stopped to look, as did many other people around us. Most people around had most likely paused to find out what was causing the commotion. Was it a search for a human being? Or a search for something else? Or maybe just some media stunt! Either way, we did not know and judging from our view of everything, most people watching wanted to find out the outcome.
We all stood, waited, and watched for over 20 minutes. Then as it started, all the emergency vehicles started leaving very quickly. In a few minutes, they were all mostly gone.
Bewilderment overtook us all; we then kept on walking down towards the direction we started. As we headed back to the house to call it a day, we all kept on talking. Suddenly, a couple appeared. They were male and female, white, mid the to late ’50s, and seemly on a mission, they fiercely wanted to get into a conversation with us, and they also seemed surprised by something.
This couple started with questions and a bit of borderline inquisition about if we had witnessed all that commotion that could best be described as a Hollywood live-action movie. We said yes, and then they went into details. That the entire event had been to save a man reported missed in the ocean while enjoying the sea.
Responders had shown up in such speed and force because of a 911 call made by his wife, in addition to other people around her calling out for help in finding her missing Husband, this couple relayed to us.
Everyone had been trying to rescue the man, now presumed lost in the ocean. His wife had seen him go deep inside the seawater. All available responders had been trying to see if they could save him. They seem to have concluded that the currents must have overpowered him, swept him away, and he was possibly drowning, and there might be a possibility of a rescue. The wife’s account, they said, was collaborated at that moment by people around with their firsthand accounts closely matches hers.
The first responders and rescue services looked for him around the reported spot of his disappearance. That was until another commotion happened!!
As it turned out, he was on the beach at a bar in the 10 o’clock direction of where they were looking for him, and he had been enjoying his drink. It seemed like for whatever reason, he had slipped his wife to have a drink there, and the reason appeared deep. Maybe he was the designated driver, or perhaps he was not allowed any drinks what so ever, perhaps he had a meet up with someone there, whatever it was, faking a swim to go to grab a beer at the bar was his desperate shot at escape.
Either way, when we heard this, we were all in stitches laughing and holding our bellies. They proceeded to let us know that the counter commotion that stopped the search happened when the lost man literately came running out of the bar, seemingly realizing that he was the person the entire search and rescue was centered on locating. He then ran to the middle of a crowd to meet his wife. That meeting causing a collision commotion, one could be equated with a dead man rising, leading to shock and instantly ending the search. People around started leaving, obviously leaving an arguing couple, a watching group of family and friends to sort out whatever the problem was, without involving the others, which included; NYPD, hundreds of people around the beach, most of the now bewildered people around. Like they had been victims of a prank, the NYPD and the search and rescue services left abruptly.
We all laughed when we heard the story, especially about how NYPD and other rescue services leaving, seemly disappointed. Overall there was a little bit of irony, maybe anger towards the man and sadness of the waste of time, but it was overall hilarious, so we all kept laughing.
Then Jomo said, “the slogan of the NYPD should be, ‘we will look for you till you find yourself.’”
We all kept laughing and agreed; The New York City Police Department will look for you till you find yourself.”