The California man's 13-year-old daughter, Reina, racked up an astonishing 14,528 text messages in one month. The online AT&T statement ran 440 pages.
"First, I laughed. I thought, 'That's insane, that's impossible,' " the 45-year-old dad said. "And I immediately whipped out the calculator to see if it was humanly possible."
He found it was - barely.
It works out to 484 text messages a day, or one every two minutes of every waking hour.
"Then I thought maybe AT&T made some mistake on the bill," said Hardesty, of Silverado Canyon.
The reporter for the Orange County Register grilled his daughter on her texting habit - by text message, of course.
"Who are you texting, anyway? Your entire school?" he asked.
"Well, a lot of my friends have unlimited texting. I just text them pretty much all the time," she explained.
She messages a core of "four obsessive texters" - all girls between the ages of 12 and 13 - on her LG phone.
Reina had a karaoke birthday party, and while other people were singing, she was texting her best friend sitting right next to her.
She even texted her friends to brag about the high number of text messages she had logged when her parents got the statement.
Her texting soared last month because "it was winter break and I was bored," Reina told her parents.
Luckily, Hardesty has a phone plan that allows unlimited texting for $30 a month. Otherwise, he estimates, he would have owed AT&T $2,905.60 at a rate of 20 cents per message.
The average number of monthly texts for a 13- to 17-year-old teen is 1,742, according to a Nielsen study of cellphone usage.
Hardesty admits he himself punches in 900 messages a month - 700 more than average for his age group, according to Nielsen.
Hardesty and his ex-wife have since placed restrictions on Reina's cellphone use, ruling she cannot text after dinner.
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