County Road 12: Perfect timing

County Road 12: Missing watch returned decade later

WETUMPKA, Ala. (WSFA) - Time is a funny thing. Sometimes you wish you could stop it, other times you’d love to fast forward.

We check our watches or our phones all the time to see if we’ll be on time for our next event of the day. For Alex City resident Mason Marvel, checking the time is a lot more special these days.

It all started with a kayaking trip about 12 years ago. Mason’s father Jimmy was going to ride the Coosa River. Every person gets the same safety speech before they hit the water.

"Before we ever go down the river, we do a safety breach with them,” said Chris Carter with Coosa River Adventures. “I tell them if you value it, leave it behind. Here’s the list: cell phones, wallets, car keys expensive jewelry, eyewear, large sums of money, small sums of money, vapes, and beer.”

Jimmy Marvel heard the advice but decided to leave his waterproof watch on. It was an $1800 TAG Heuer watch and one of his prized possessions. I’m sure the foreshadowing is pretty obvious. He flipped in kayak, his arm hit a rock and the watch broke off. Mr. Marvel looked, but never found it.

Sadly, he would be diagnosed with cancer and never made it back to the river.

A few months later Carter was in the river with a friend looking for things people may have lost. Carter admits he’s color blind, so he rarely finds anything. Off in the distance they saw a kayaker who dropped his fishing pole. Carter says he was swimming that way to help when he stopped near some rocks to catch his breath for a few seconds.

"It was a complete fluke that I found it. Staring straight at me was a shiny silver object.” Carter said.

He picked it up, saw the letter T, which he thought stood for Timex.

“So, he just threw the watch to his buddy on the rock not knowing it was a $1800 TAG Heuer watch,” said Mason Marvell.

Well Carter figured eventually the man who lost it would come looking for it, so he held on to it.

Jimmy Marvel lost his fight with cancer and his son Mason just didn’t do much kayaking anymore.

Here’s where the story gets fun. Marvel decided on Sunday to take his son and stepson kayaking and do some fishing. After hearing the safety message, the same one his father heard 12 years ago, he had a question for the owner of Coosa River Adventures.

“I asked him if he’d ever found a TAG Heuer watch,” said Marvel.

At first Carter wasn’t sure what this guy was up to.

“So, I kind of look at him and asked if he ever found a Rolex watch,” said Carter.

But then Carter let him know he did find one years ago.

“I said really?” said Marvel. “My dad lost one here.”

“So now we’re trying to date back,” said Carter.

“Chris (Carter) said I bet this is your dad’s watch,” said Marvel. “I thought well that’s a cool story I’m glad somebody found it.”

So, Marvel and his family left to go kayaking, Carter knew what he had to do right away. Amazingly, he still had the watch. He had people offer to buy it, or trade something for it.

“That’s just not me,” Said Carter.

So, he goes home, gets the watch out of his safe and then gets back on the river to go find Marvel. After missing for more than a decade, the watch, his dad’s watch, was back with the Marvel family.\

"My eyes and my son’s eyes just teared up,” said Marvel. “Gives me the chills just thinking about it.”

It was a combination of patience and honesty that allowed this timepiece to get back to the right family. It was just a matter of time.

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