Widower loses, gets back wife's voicemail

March 17, 2008 3:36:05 PM PDT
A telephone upgrade caused some heartache for a man from Westchester County.After his wife died, the 80-year-old would listen to his phone message every day, just so he could hear her voice.

But when Verizon upgraded his service, the phone message, and his wife's voice, were lost.

Eyewitness News reporter Marcus Solis has the story.

Charles Whiting has been a widower for more than two years, but nearly every day, the 80-year-old Irvington resident could hear his late wife's voice on voice mail.

"Her voice would come on, and I would put in a code, and then I would get my messages," he said.

Catherine Whiting died of cancer in 2005. Years ago, she recorded her name on the Verizon voice mailbox the couple used instead of an answering machine. Recently, Verizon upgraded service in the area. Then, last month, to Charles' dismay, his wife's greeting was gone.

"We could've changed it, I suppose, at any time," he said. "But I kind of liked it, to hear her voice."

Whiting acknowledges getting a notice from Verizon about the upgrade, but he was hospitalized for a short time and had forgotten all about it. Then, one day, the system prompted him to re-record his name.

Whiting says when he called to complain, he got nowhere.

"It used to be much easier, when you could get a person when you phoned up Verizon or anybody," he said.

On Monday, Eyewitness News informed him that Verizon had enlisted a New Hampshire-based recording company to make a copy of the greeting, which it has retrieved. The company will even restore Catherine's message.

"I appreciate that and thank them very much," Whiting said. "But I just don't think it should've been this much trouble to get to that point."

It is one small way to remember a 43-year love affair.