If you have kids, you are probably all too familiar with this scenario. If you don’t have children, chances are your mother or father can share a story of the time you flushed something down the toilet as a toddler. No one can escape this childhood milestone, and plumbers have learned to accept that their rescue missions may entail some pretty strange survivors. Here are some of Warner Service’s favorite stories of things that have gone toilet-surfing:
- Wedding and engagement rings: While this is probably not on purpose, a lot of expensive rings get flushed down the toilet. In Phoenix, Ariz., Allison Berry’s $70,000 diamond ring was recovered in a diner’s restroom after 8 hours of work with a jackhammer, an infrared video camera and multiple pipe removals.
- Liquor bottles: Some people wish they could flush their drunken sorrows down the drain, and others actually do. In Sacramento, Calif., an employee flushed miniature bottles of liquor down the company toilet to hide the evidence.
- Animals: Plumbing experts often find critters in pipes, such as birds, squirrels and other outdoor animals looking for shelter, but in Phoenix, Ariz., a 7-year-old boy was washing his 5-week-old puppy in the toilet and accidently flushed it straight down the tubes. Man’s best friend was safely recovered by the police and return to its owner.
If that story doesn’t frighten you enough, in 2009 an Australian man found a 9-foot-long carpet python was in his toilet bowl. Snake handlers said the beast was probably calling his potty home for at least a few days.
- Historical treasures: Toilet pipes make for fertile ground, according to archeologists, because the ground is left undisturbed for centuries. In Fontainbleu Palace, outside of Paris, researchers found a 16th-century hairpin that belonged to Queen Catherine de Medici.
- Cash: Who would ever throw out $76,000, especially into various toilet bowls? A janitor at Australia’s Channel 9 television station was cleaning when he noticed wads of money sticking out of trash cans. After calling his supervisor, he noticed the toilets weren’t flushing properly either. Plumbers arrived and found $1,123 from the toilet drain and more than $74,000 from other bathroom locations. The source of the cash was never found, so the janitor received a large payday.
- Human body parts: (Warning: This is an eerie tale, so we advise you to skip this story if you’re easily disturbed.) A troubled marriage in Germany ended in late 2008 when the wife cut her husband into pieces and disposed of some of his body parts in the toilet. Other parts were found in nearby trash cans.
- Dentures: Because bedside cleaning is overrated. A South Carolina man dropped his set of teeth down the toilet and, after the plumber rescued them intact and in great shape, the man intended to use them again.
- Children’s toys: So this one isn’t so weird, but almost everyone on the neighborhood block could tell a story about the time they had to retrieve a plastic Barbie dolls, GI Joe action figure, toy car or other playtime accessory from the toilet. A Flickr user even captured plumbers finding hockey sticks and bicycles.
- Clothes: Why do we buy nice things only to flush them down the toilet? Experts were called into unclog an all-male bathroom at a commercial business in Plainfield, Ill., only to find that the source of the blockage was a training bra. Needless to say, there were a lot of unanswered questions left lingering.
- Sharks: No, the shark didn’t swim up the toilet pipes – but imagine walking into a public restroom only to see a dead baby shark hanging halfway out of the toilet. This terrifying experience occurred in Columbia, S.C., in 2009. Upon realizing it wasn’t alive, the 2 women who found it called the authorities for proper removal.
Next time you discover that your little one flushed your bubble bath down the toilet to make a sweet-smelling mess, just remember: it could have been a $70,000 diamond ring or someone’s yearly salary – or the family pet. No matter what’s down there, we can help. Contact Warner Service today.