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Andover homeowner's payphone helps reunite child with his family

The Anoka County Sheriff's Office confirmed they received a call on April 9 for a child who was lost and attempting to locate his family.

ANDOVER, Minn. — A payphone ringing in someone's front yard is not exactly something you'd expect to see on a residential street in Andover.

"It was just kind of a bucket list thing, I just always thought it would be cool to put a payphone in the front yard," said homeowner, Brian Davis.

Davis first decided to install the working payphone around Labor Day last year. 

"It actually sat in my garage for a couple of weeks," said Davis.

To his surprise, it became an instant hit with people from all walks of life who stopped by to take a look or snap a photo with this little slice of nostalgic joy.

"Young, old, in between; they just come and chill," said Davis.

But recently, Davis spotted something out of the ordinary.

"I kind of saw this young kid out playing and running around, and as the morning went on, I thought, 'Geez, he's kind of young to be by himself' and spotted him on the phone," said Davis. "Inside the house, I'm thinking, "Hey, kid, that's not a toy."

As it turns out, the child was actually lost and used the payphone to dial 911. 

"All of sudden, there's like three squad cars out front," Davis recalled. "I came out and I said, 'Did he call you?' and he (the officer) said, 'Yes, he called 911 because he didn't know how to get home.'" 

Davis never expected the curiosity he purchased on a whim, would come in handy.

RELATED: Andover man installs pay phone in his front yard

"Everybody's like, "Wow, that's super, super cool.' Even the police officers were surprised, they've driven by it and they just thought it was prop phone," said Davis.

While he says the 911 call was free, "I was just shocked he knew it was a phone, or payphone."  

Davis is taking the newfound fame in stride. "Overall, it's been extremely positive. I mean people will come and a lot of times they are just taking pictures by it," he said.

He's now hoping a payphone that came in handy to help a child in need will perhaps help someone else down the line.

"Maybe some more payphones should be spread out throughout the cities," he said.

The Anoka County Sheriff's Office confirmed they received a call on April 9 regarding a child who was lost and attempting to locate his family. They say thankfully that they boy was reunited with his grandfather.

"We are grateful that this scary situation for the child and his family had a happy and safe resolution," reads a statement from sheriff's officials. "While the homeowner’s payphone is certainly unique and unfamiliar to some younger individuals, it did it’s most important job and allowed this child the ability to call for help when he needed it."

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