It's one of those incredible stories that could only happen today: Google Earth helped a lost boy find his mother. Twenty five years ago, Saroo Brierly was just a 5-year-old boy working with his brother cleaning trains in India. He got separated from his brother, and then he ended up on a train bound for Calcutta -- a 14-hour journey away from the village whose name Saroo didn't even know. It was impossible for him to find his family. He took to begging on the streets of Calcutta until he was finally taken into an orphanage and then adopted by a couple in Australia.
Fast-forward to 2011: Saroo never forgot his birth family. So he figured out how far outside from Calcutta he must have started. And then he used Google Earth to scour the region for familiar landmarks.
Sure enough, he recognized the waterfall where he used to play as a little boy. The nearest town turned out to be Khandwa. And that's where Saroo headed earlier this year. His mother had moved to another home, but neighbors helped him locate her nearby.
Imagine her joy when she recognized her long-lost son! She was speechless. Soon after he went missing, a fortune teller had told Saroo's mother that she would see him again. Tragically, Saroo's brother had died just a month after he disappeared. But now she's reunited with her younger son.
Crazy that it was an app that brought these two people back together again! And here I thought Google Earth was useful only for scoping celebrity homes (not that I would ever). I'm hoping this is something law enforcement people are already using here to help lost children too young to remember exactly where they live.
How early do you think kids should memorize their street address and phone number?
Image via Anuradha Sengupta/Flickr