14 year old Rhema Butler passed away in June 2011 after a two year battle with cancer. Before she passed away though, she had left her father Faron Butler voice mail messages on his T-Mobile phone. Mr. Butler would listen back to those messages when he was missing his daughter or having a bad day. He told the Associated Press:
“If I had a bad day or week, I’d listen to her voice. I’d listen to it a couple of times a week,” Butler said Friday from his home in Elma, Wash., holding back tears. “She’d be there, saying, ‘Daddy, I love you and I miss you.'”
More after the break
Butler never tried to off-load the messages from his T-Mobile voicemail and in February after he signed up for a free messaging promotion, the voicemail messages were gone. T-Mobile officials were made aware of Butler’s problem and said there was nothing they could do to retrieve the messages. Butler feels that T-Mobile doesn’t want to go through the hassle to retrieve the messages but he feels pretty certain that they could retrieve them, suggesting that if law enforcement needed those messages they would be able to get them.
“T-Mobile deeply regrets the sorrow the Butler family is experiencing. If we could retrieve this voicemail for the family we absolutely would, but unfortunately that is not possible,” said T-Mobile spokeswoman Cara Walker in a statement. “We sincerely apologize that the Butlers were not adequately made aware of this possibility and are working internally to assure this information is clearly communicated to customers in the future.”
T-Mobile is working on compensating the Butler family, of course if they really can’t get the messages back there is probably no compensation the family would see fit. The Butler’s and their attorney, Chris Crew, are preparing legal action to ask the courts to have T-Mobile retrieve the messages, and they will also seek damages for emotional distress.