Thursday, January 04, 2007

Just trying to be a good Samaritan

It was pouring rain when I left my client's office downtown around 5pm this evening. I had only walked a block or two when I spotted a mobile phone lying on the pavement. I've lost my phone twice, only to call it and arrange to retrieve it from a good Samaritan. So I grabbed the phone and continued on to my CTA stop.

As soon as I got home and changed out of my sopping wet clothes, I scrolled through the phone's address book. None of the numbers were labeled "home" or "ICE," so I clicked on "Mom & Dad" and hit connect.

The next 10 minutes were excruciating as the woman who answered the phone seemed to think it was her own phone that had gone missing. I said, "But this phone has your number listed as Mom & Dad--do you maybe have a child who might have lost a phone?" She continued to mutter about how in the world her phone could have ended up downtown, and she seemed absolutely baffled by my description of the phone and the carrier (Verizon).

But she insisted it was hers and said she'd send her husband to pick it up. I spent a few minutes trying to give her my work address, but she either couldn't hear well or was too flustered to understand a word I was saying. With Josh yelling that dinner was ready and Z clamoring to play with the phone herself, I finally got her husband on the phone and said, "I work at the Apparel Center. 11th floor." I gave the name of my company and said "Ask the receptionist for Alma. If you have any difficulties, call your lost phone and I'll answer."

I had serious doubts about either of them really coming to claim the phone when, about 20 minutes later, the found phone rang. I answered it and heard, "Linda?"

"I'm not Linda," I said. "I found this phone today and I'm trying to locate its owner."

"This is the woman you called earlier...I figured out that you found my daughter's cell phone. She lives downtown. We'll still come pick it up tomorrow at your office."

Now, I'm glad to be repaying the good lost cell phone karma I've benefited from in the past, but how can these people be so completely, frustratingly clueless? Are they old, doddering fools? Did she think I was some kind of criminal trying to scam her? I'd like to think that if someone called my mom at home and said, "Hey, I found this cell phone and you're number was programmed in as 'Mom,'" she'd figure out pretty quick that I (or perhaps my sister) lost my phone. And she'd give the caller an alternate number for me or call me and tell me to call my phone, it had been found.

To be continued tomorrow...