It was about this time of year about fifteen years ago. We had given my son an Air Hogs remote control plane for Christmas and we were out for the first flight.
I might advise you folks out there with kids... don't get remote controlled airplanes as gifts. They crash. And after they crash, they don't work anymore. That's not fun.
Had we known this tidbit ahead of time, we would not have purchased the toy.
The plane had a feature so that you could sail it off by hand and then fly it around with the remote. Then when the battery was spent, it would put itself in a landing mode and land itself. Seems like a really good idea, right?
We never had a chance to test that feature. I sailed it off, flied it in a circle, then handed the controls to my son. He flew the plane! It went up and around and circled, then circled more. I noticed it was getting further and further away... but it was still airborne and my son was having fun.
Then the plane just flew away. It had become so far away from the remote control it apparently lost signal and just flew away. It flew off in the direction of the houses by the park where we launched it. I tried to note which direction it went as best I could.
We drove around and around and looked in people's yards. We received a lot of dirty looks for sure. But I was determined to find this airplane for my son.
It was not found.
So I made signs "Lost Airplane" and included a picture of the plane and added our phone number. I pasted them on mailboxes around the area and posted them in the park where it all started.
A week later, my wife received a phone call from a mother. She said her son found the plane and had been playing with it. She went on to say that her husband and her were trying to "talk Bobby into doing the right thing."
Wait. What? Yes, you heard that right. Instead of marching him over to our house with the plane, they were in negotiations with the boy to "do the right thing."
Another week passed and I got fed up and drove my son to the house. The mother was startled at the door when I said "It's time for Bobby to do the right thing." She closed the door. Five minutes passed, then finally Bobby appeared with the airplane.
I thanked him for returning it and we left.
When we got back to the car I looked at the plane more closely. It would never fly again. Bobby had been playing with it himself and it was damaged beyond repair.
The plane was replaceable. The real damage was the piss-poor parenting of Bobby. That kid is an adult now and hopefully gainfully employed and not on welfare.