Amazing Kids! Magazine

The Broken Phone

By Senay Emmanuel, age 13, Washington

In the summer of 2009, in August to be exact, my family and I went to Lake Tahoe in California for a family reunion, which was held every two years in a different location in the USA. We flew there in a Boeing 737-400 through Alaskan Airlines. The scenery there was stunning and Lake Tahoe was gorgeous! We were there for just under a week, around five days. It was day four, and my cousins and I had decided the day before to go kayaking. So the day arrived and we went to the rental shop, which was two minutes from the hotel room I shared with my grandmother. We rented three two-person kayaks and one one-person kayak for an hour. My kayak was orange, and I shared it with my cousin. All of us settled into our kayaks and set off.

My cousins and I decided to aim to reach some tall buildings on the horizon, about a mile or so away, maybe more, but I didn’t know exactly how far. We ended up turning our journey into a race to the beach surrounded by the tall buildings. I don’t remember who was in the lead, but when we found out that we couldn’t make it to the buildings in time, we turned towards the coast and back to the rental shack. I was situated up front and paddling on the right with my cousin, who was paddling on the right as well. I don’t know exactly what happened, but I think my cousin leaned too far out of the boat, and the kayak flipped over. I remember hearing in my head, Swim up! Swim up!, but I also had on a lifejacket so I didn’t have to worry too much about having to swim up. I floated on top of the water like a dead fish, petrified. My kayak flipped over and dumped both of us and our belongings into the ocean, drenching our clothes and almost making me lose my hat and sunglasses. My cellular-phone, camera, and hotel key were in my Ziploc bag, and smartly, I had made sure that there was a lot of air in it so if it were to go overboard, which it did, it would float. Even though the Ziploc bag was a little bit open, it did successfully float. Unfortunately though, a little bit of water entered the bag. I had a towel around my camera but not around my phone because my phone came free from the towel and it wasn’t protected. Thus my camera and key to the hotel were salvaged, but my phone, sadly, was not. It was as dead as a doornail.

Drenched and unaware that my phone was ruined, my cousin and I flipped the kayak right side up. Half my body was under water trying to salvage as many of my belongings that I could. Fortunately, I didn’t lose anything, and neither did my cousin. We were soon on our way back to the rental shack. By this time, I was tired and soaking wet, my arms were sore and my back was hurting. In addition, I was scared that my stuff was ruined, and my cousin was making me do all the paddling back to the shore.

“Why don’t you paddle, you lazy bone?” I yelled.

He ignored me so I kept going, and I didn’t stop even though I could have. Finally, two minutes before our one hour for kayaking was up, all of us made it ashore. I returned to my hotel room and shared with my grandmother what had happened. I examined my things inside my Ziploc bag. I found out my camera was workable, my sunglasses and my hat were fine, and I hadn’t lost my shoes or anything else in the Ziploc bag. My phone however was not working, and even though I tried drying my cell phone the rest of the day and the day after that, it couldn’t be saved. I left Lake Tahoe a few days later, returning home to Kent. I kept asking my parents for a new phone, and pretty soon, my prayers were answered.

The event in Lake Tahoe taught me to be more careful about my valuable stuff and to make sure that they are safe. Now, I put my phone in a pouch clip to my belt, and I have a waterproof box I put my phone in if I go anywhere near the water. I also have a screen protector and a case I put my phone in. I put a cover on my e-reader and am considering buying a screen protector for that too. I have a carrying bag for my phone and a wrist band that connects to it. I am careful to not use all my electronic devices in the rain and try to keep them as safe as possible. It was a funny but memorable experience that taught me something important in life.


  1. Senay Emmanuel /

    Yeaaaaah, 15 now.

  2. Senay Emmanuel /

    Its an honor to see my work being posted on here. I’ve grown however, to be 14, and no, that is not me on the title picture. 🙂