A Colorado hiker who got lost while trudging up a mountain has safely returned home after being marooned for 24 hours in the wilderness and elements.
Why, you ask?
Because they were trapped under a felled tree or cornered by a bear or rescuers simply couldn't find them?
No, none of that. It was simply they ignored rescuers' phone calls because they came from an unknown number.
We hear you laughing, but we have one question.
Who among us doesn't reflexively send those calls to voicemail nowadays? Who wants to be lost and asked about their cars extended warranty?
This could have happened to anyone in our telephobic culture! Telephobia is the fear of answering the phone.
On social media, people cannot stop laughing about how relatable this all is.
It all began on October 18, when the hiker did not return from a trip up Mount Elbert, which at 14,440 feet is Colorado's highest point and one of several "14'ers"--mountains over 14,000 feet in altitude--that draw hundreds of thousands of hikers and mountaineers from all over the world each year.
Around nightfall, the hiker realized they had drifted from the trail and spent the night trying to find their way back to it. In the meantime they were reported missing, and search and rescue teams in Lake County, Colorado began canvassing the area to no avail. They then tried multiple times to call the hiker's phone, but got no answer.
Finally, after about 24 hours out in the wilderness, the hiker found their way back to their car and returned from the expedition, totally unaware there had even been a search for them because they'd ignored all the phone calls due to the unknown numbers they came from.
In a Facebook post, Lake County Search and Rescue turned this into a cautionary tale.
"If you're overdue according to your itinerary, and you start getting repeated calls from an unknown number, please answer the phone; it may be a [search and rescue] team trying to confirm you're safe!"
Okay well when you put it that way... But how are any of us to know it's Search and Rescue and not someone trying to reach us about our vehicle's extended warranty?!
And if you're the type of person who sends every call to voicemail and finding this story deeply chilling, you're not alone: Practically all of social media was like, "Okay, I'm triggered."
Jokes aside, let's please take this to heart, fellow telephobes.
Just answer the dang phone sometimes, okay?