Lost and Found Karma

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In 2000, my most trusted device was my Blackberry. This was before Blackberrys were also cell phones. This was only an email device. It was perfect for my needs, and I loved it.

I went on a trip to San Francisco and I knew before I left that my belt clip was very loose. I ignored the danger and paid the price. After crossing a very large street I got into a cab and when I arrived at my hotel, I realized that the Blackberry was gone. I had dropped it on that street and didn’t notice.

I prayed that it was crushed by a car rather than picked up by a malicious stranger. This was a primitive device that couldn’t be remotely wiped, etc.

I fired up my laptop in the hotel and emailed my device, on the off chance that a good Samaritan picked it up. Unfortunately for me, we were leaving at the crack of dawn and couldn’t change that.

A few (tense) hours later, I received an email from a young man who said he had my Blackberry, that he was out for the evening and that he would drop it at the front desk on his way home. He did, at 2:30am, and I had it back in my loving hands when we checked out of the hotel at 6am.

I called him and asked him what I could get him, and after being unsuccessful at getting Giants tickets (they were sold out on the dates he could go), I got him a gift certificate to Amazon. We were both delighted with the result.

Last night we had dinner at our favorite restaurant, The Peking Duck House. Two of our friends from Richmond, VA were in town for the weekend with their friends. We met their friends for the first time in front of the restaurant.

After saying hello, the first words out of my new friend’s mouth (we already love our friends’ friends, they are amazing people) was “I hear you’re technical” to which I answered “Correct”. He handed me an iPhone and told me that his wife discovered it on the back seat of the cab that they came in. He wanted to know if I could figure out who it belonged to.

I’m a Motorola Droid person now (a fanatic in fact) and prior to that had a variety of Palm Treo devices for eight years, so I know zero about the iPhone. I have to admit that as lovely as the interface is, it wasn’t obvious what I should look for to determine its owner.

I immediately found the person’s phone number, but that was useless, as it would have rung the phone that was in our hands. The phone was not in service and I didn’t try to figure out how to turn that back on, largely because it was nearly out of battery.

We did what seemed like a clever idea and called a number that the phone had called a few hours earlier. Unfortunately, the person on the other end had no idea who called them at 4:12pm, and asked us to call back from the actual iPhone, in the hopes that the contact name/photo would pop up for them and they’d know. See above for why we didn’t do that.

I then opened the email program and looked at the To: field (I figured out I had to press the little details link on the top right) to see who the emails were addressed to. Bingo!

I then used my Droid to email the person from our table. Less than five minutes later I got a reply with a request to call. I did, and we arranged for him to pick up his phone with my doorman later that night.

He asked if he could bring me a bottle of wine and I told him the above story (a shorter version) and said that he should bring me nothing, as I finally felt that I paid off my Karmic debt to the universe’s Lost and Found box.

This afternoon I returned from a long walk in the city to see that he didn’t heed my request. There was a lovely bottle of wine waiting for me. I appreciate it as much as my young friend appreciated the Amazon gift certificate!

Of course, I feel a little guilty. While I did figure out whose phone it was, and did make the connection and the handoff, I’m not the one who actually found the phone. If my new friend wants the wine, I will gladly give it to him as he was the actual good Samaritan in this tale. Perhaps we’ll find the time to drink it together before they all head back to Richmond. 🙂