A Lost Phone Chase

 

Another Short Story of Life

Lost Phone Cover2

Last night my husband and I went downtown to join some friends and hear Carly Jo Jackson, a local singer, perform on an outdoor stage. The night fell into one of those categories that can only be described as perfect. The air was cool, the laughter infectious, and the drinks strong. We took pictures with our cell phones as we sang along and applauded our girl’s performance.

After a while, I excused myself and headed to the ladies room. On my way back, I stopped at the bar and got another round. When I returned to my husband, he pointed out something picture-worthy, and I reached into my pocket to pull out my phone, and it wasn’t there.

Time froze. My eyes wide, my breath held, I frantically searched my other pockets.

Of course not.

I then shoved things around on the table, checked under chairs, hoping against hope that the thing was buried under napkins or something.

Of course not.

My next action, as I ran from the table shouting over my shoulder to my husband, was to check the bathroom. A line had formed since my departure.

Then the interviews began. I asked servers, bartenders, hosts, managers, fellow concert-goers, “Has someone turned in an iPhone?”

Of course not.

I’m old enough to not trust my fellow man. Therefore, I’d activated a passcode to engage after five minutes of non-use. I am also old enough to certainly not give my full trust to technology. This being my true comfort, as I never, ever, accessed any of my banking information from my phone. Still, with those two small comforts, I freaked. Contacts, pictures, favorite games and apps. Gone.

Speaking of apps…

My husband suggested we use his “Find My Phone” app to locate my missing one. I knew there was a reason I married him.

The beacon showed the device moving away from us! Right there on the screen, my phone slowly moved further and further away.

Adrenaline rush! Mother F*er stole my phone!

That’s when Officer Daniel Stallworth of the Orlando Police Department, who happened to be assigned patrol duty for the event, met me. The poor bastard.

For the next forty-five minutes Officer Stallworth, me and my husband chased the little icon displayed on my husband’s screen around the closed off streets of downtown. (They were closed for the concert, not because my phone was stolen. However, I felt it appropriate.) Whoever had it ducked into a couple of bars, and zig-zagged up and down the street, with us in dogged pursuit.

We discussed contacting the carrier and locking it down, but were concerned the display would no longer show active, and we might lose the signal. Instead, I put it in “lost mode”, a feature offered through the “Find My Phone” app.

After a time, the officer had to return to his assigned post. I had no hard feelings, as this man had been so diligent, so sympathetic, and oh-so-very authoritative. Have you ever trotted after a uniformed cop, gun strapped to his hip, down a street filled with people? The stares we attracted, and the wide berth many pedestrians gave us, left the entire experience surreal. I won’t deny the disappointment held that we had to part ways, but he told us another officer would come and continue the search with us.

We waited at a corner for the other officer, when the signal from my “Lost Mode” phone came to a complete stop. It appeared to be half a block behind us, in a back alleyway, away from the populous streets.

Ever so cautiously, my husband and I took a few hesitant steps into the alley. We couldn’t see anyone, but I had the weirdest feeling I was being watched.

In an overly loud voice, I said, “Maybe someone ditched it back here?”

Then another angel, with a security guard uniform this time, approached us. We told him what we’d been through, and he seemed sympathetic but no more ready to rush into the alley than we were. While I didn’t tell him of my discomfort, I believe with all my heart he felt that weird sensation of being watched, too.

I broke the tension by proclaiming the phone irretrievable. There were too many places down there someone could have tossed it, and the signal didn’t show where in the alley, or in the building adjacent, it might be. The display was now just a large green circle, with a pinpoint in the middle.

We went back to Officer Stallworth to tell him we’d given up the hunt and thanked him again for his trouble.

My husband’s phone in hand, I was ready to call the carrier. Then it rang. The display showed my phone number calling! One of my friends whom we met for the concert had found my phone!

She had been waiting in line for a ladies room for an excessive amount of time and became concerned. She asked the manager to check. Once unlocked, it was found empty. My phone was in that bathroom. The back wall of the facility was the alleyway the app pointed us to.

I’d really love to know what made the person leave it in a bathroom, rather than chucking the thing. I’ll never know the answer to that one.

I’d like to thank all of the friends and angels who helped reunite me with my phone. I wish it could tell me what the hell happened to it. But, since I don’t trust tech, I turned off the ‘track my location’ long ago. Maybe it’s time to lighten up a little on technology. It ain’t so bad…

 

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