8 Lessons I Learned When I Lost (And Found) My Phone
Jul 6, 2017   •   Tim Henares
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Jul 6, 2017   •   Tim Henares
Recently, someone we knew lost her phone in a tricycle, but through an unexpected set of circumstances, she managed to get it back. It was a combination of amateur detective work, doggone persistence, and nifty deductive thinking.
As we go along this fascinating tale that only a lucky few of us could ever share, let’s talk about the things we could learn from it.
“When I lost my phone, I was too preoccupied with other stuff,” our friend, whom we will call “Atilla” at this point, told us. It was something we heard all too often: we often lose something when our guard is down, and getting down from a tricycle after a hectic day at work is one of those times.
Ultimately, you can take all the precautions you want, but it’s unreasonable to expect you can always be on guard every waking moment of your life, so accept that lapses can and will happen, and move on.
Victim-blaming normally happens when we lose something, or if something gets stolen from us, because people think if we were more vigilant, then it could have been avoided.
That’s a shame because, as we will keep on harping on here, to expect eternal vigilance is simply impossible, unless your name is Serra.
Not all lost phones are lost forever. When Atilla lost her phone, she was hoping against hope that it was lost and not stolen, even if the tricycle driver suspiciously drove away as fast as he could just when she was realizing that her phone went missing.
The obvious thing is that you can’t really “steal” that phone if you’re a tricycle driver operating in a small community, but if the person who lost their phone gave up quickly, then the phone could be yours to keep, once the trail goes cold. For anyone who wishes to get their phone back, you can’t let that happen, especially if you lost it in, say, a taxi.
All your pleas, all your begging for your friends to text or call that phone will fall on deaf ears if someone actually stole your phone. If you lost it, you might have a chance, but even that isn’t quite a guarantee.
During Atilla’s minor ordeal, not once did the phone get picked up despite it ringing off the hook the whole time.
What made this search especially difficult for Atilla was that she completely forgot the body number of the tricycle, which would have made everything easier for her. She even forgot how her tricycle driver looked like, which, while understandable, hurt her chances even further.
Most phones you lose are lost, not stolen. When taking public transportation, you should always take note of the vehicle you’re riding in, and yes, that includes buses, too. Identifying details, bus line, cab line, plate number even, if you have that luxury. It could spell the difference.
Given that Atilla was just following the tricycles in one general area, you know what could have made her search easier? If her phone weren’t on silent mode. Calling it would have turned the phone into a beacon, and unless the person who got the phone were a thief, then your chances of finding it dramatically go up.
Ultimately, when Atilla narrowed down which tricycle had her phone to three possible ones (find out how in #1), she approached one of them, and the driver gave back the phone to her. Despite that and despite giving the guy a reward, there were multiple signs that if he had his way, she would never have gotten her phone back.
First, the phone was wrapped in a plastic bag, away from prying eyes and subsequent passengers.
Secondly, he never answered the phone that he knew someone was looking for and was being called the whole time.
Ultimately, it was obvious that his conscience got the better of him and he didn’t realize that Atilla never recognized him as the driver she rode with. And that’s really the most important part: would-be thieves, i.e., people who found your phone rather than outright stole it still usually have a conscience. If you end up face to face with them, there’s a high chance they would give it back to you.
This is the most important factor that led to the phone being recovered: GPS allowed Atilla to track the phone in real time, and narrow down which tricycle had it by driving around the area the trikes go through. When she encountered three tricycles headed in the direction the GPS indicated her phone was, she realized one of the three had her phone, and that helped her find it.
GPS really is your friend. It may not be the most accurate thing in the world, but if it was good enough for Atilla to find her phone in a moving vehicle, then it’s good enough for us.
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