Rikki Gordon’s family has lived near Compo Beach for 4 generations.
Her grandparents bought a cottage in the early 1950s. Summers there — 6 family members crammed together, escaping New York City’s heat — were the happiest times of her life.
For the next 7 decades, she cherished that beach address — and the phone number that never changed.
After her parents died in 2008 and ’09, Rikki and her husband Allen Pack built a Nantucket-style home on the property. It was a new chapter, but a continuation of their beloved summer life. The phone number remained the same.
When COVID struck, Rikki — she’s a psychologist; he’s a psychiatrist — worked from Pacific Palisades, California. They rented out their Westport home.
When they returned this past June, Rikki was stunned at the tenant’s damage. Still, she consoled herself, they were all just “things.” They could be fixed.
Yet when she phoned Altice — Optimum’s parent company — to request a service appointment, they said she was calling from an unfamiliar number.
Rikki’s tenant had changed the phone number on her own, apparently as part of a promotion to get a lower rate than she was paying.
Realizing that her “227” number — actually, “CApital 7,” when that was the format — was gone devastated Rikki.
“That number belonged to my grandparents, my parents, my family,” she explains. It was part of her identity — and, of course, the way friends reached her. She started to cry.
Then she called Optimum, and was connected to a “wonderful, bright and thoughtful man named Mohamed.” Rikki told him about the damage to her home, but said the loss of her phone number meant far more.
“Mohamed understood the importance of family and history,” she says. He plunged right in.
For the next 3 hours, he wrote code to recreate her phone number. He enlisted a team of technology troubleshooters to help.
They — along with Mohamed’s expertise and dedication — worked a “small miracle.”
Throughout the ordeal, Rikki stayed in touch with Mohamed using neighbors Patricia McMahon and Matthew Levine’s landline.
Every 10 to 20 minutes he came on, with an update.
“Mohamed was not sure if this would work,” Rikki reports. “But I felt like he was a doctor doing delicate surgery, keeping me informed every step.
“This gentleman Mohamed was so kind, so dedicated to restoring my family’s link to friends and neighbors.”
After 3 “nail-biting, prayer-filled” hours, he had restored Rikki’s family history.
“He could have said, ‘sorry, the number is irretrievable.’ But he genuinely heard my distress, and devoted himself to helping. I cannot thank him enough. I want to acknowledge his work, and the fact that he cared about a stranger. Thank you, Mohamed!”
Done! Mohamed: You are our Unsung Heroes of the Week!
(Do you know an Unsung Hero? Email firstname.lastname@example.org)