WESTFIELD, Ind. (WISH) - As a wife and mom, Macara Aloi treasures her family pictures.
"I have an 18-month-old and I realize how quickly they change every day. The pictures are very important," Aloi said.
That's why, when she noticed a plea for help from an acquaintance on a Facebook Group Page, she knew she had to join the effort.
"Her neighbor had found a camera and they're trying to find the owner of the camera," she said.
It was a Nikon CoolPix found on the ground near 156th Street and Spring Mill Road in Westfield. The camera itself was broken beyond repair, but the chip inside carrying the digital pictures was still OK. On it: 1,000 images of priceless memories.
Four years' worth.
"I realized how sad I would be if I lost them, especially when I read it was a birthday party and Christmas pics and sledding," said Aloi.
So she shared the plea for help on her own Facebook page, hoping the power of social media could lead them to the owner of all those memories. Within hours, her friends had also shared details of the pictures. Their friends did, too. And friends of friends.
"Ten years ago, this was impossible," said social media expert Erik Deckers, who called it an example of something going viral. "The idea is that if something is interesting or funny or heartwarming or touching, we all want to share that."
And in this case, it worked. The camera had been tracked to a family from New York who was visiting family in Westfield over the holidays.
Family members said they heard about the camera from a friend who'd seen the message on Facebook.
"It's a blessing most of the time," said Aloi. "It can also go the wrong direction, but most of the time I think it's amazing and how quickly people stepped up to also share the status … it's kind of nice to see so many people who don't know each other coming together."
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