Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The tale of the lost wedding dress

When David Thibault unzipped the unlabelled garment bag and a bit of white lace poked out, he came to the obvious conclusion: "Holy shiznit, it's a wedding dress!"

Sandra & Mike Scharf outside Island Dogs
moments after finding Sandra's dress
Moments before, a couple of tourists came into Island Dogs Tuesday afternoon where Thibault is general manager, lugging the bag. It had fallen off the back of a truck on Front Street just outside the bar and into the street, they said.

"At first I didn't know what to do, but I knew someone had to know who the owners of the dress were," Thibault said.

So he took his hunt to social media.

"Everyone who is following us please retweet. Someone's wedding dress fell off a truck in front of Island Dogs. It's at the bar. Hanging up!" Thibault tweeted.

Then he updated Island Dogs' Facebook status: "Someone's wedding dress just fell off a truck in front of Island Dogs! Not sure if this will work, but if any of you know of a bride looking for her dress, we have it at Island Dogs."

It was an instant sensation among the bar's fans. And work it did.

Just a few hours later, newlyweds Mike and Sandra Scharf walked worriedly into The Rum Barrel across the street, carrying their toddler, with a note offering a $500 reward for the missing dress. (Coincidentally, former Philly 76ers president Pat Croce has interests in both bars.)

"I said, 'I know exactly where your wedding dress is! It's in that bar over there," said Rum Barrel server Julie Lynch, who had seen Island Dogs' Facebook status update that morning.

The Scharfs had been on their way out of the Keys on their return drive from their honeymoon in Key West when they realized the dress was missing, Thibault said. Sandra Scharf cried with happiness and tried to pay out a reward, but he refused.

"Next thing I know, they're snapping pics outside Island Dogs with the dress," Lynch said. "They stopped and kissed and then they were on their way."

"Just because of Facebook, this couple we'd never met was able to find us and find their dress," Thibault said. "That's the power of social media!"

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