Do you remember last summer when I lost my new iPhone? I was 99% sure that some thug had grabbed it out of my unlocked car and eventually ditched it (according to Find My iPhone app) deep within the packaged meat department at Trader Joes. With the help of the obnoxiously loud remote beacon the good people of TJs were able to recover it. New case and few dips into a vat of hand sanitizer and it was good as new.
Well a year later it happened again this time the were police involved. And may I suggest a cup of coffee? I’m feel a therapeutically long post coming on.
I have a new habit now of grabbing my phone and my wallet when I go out, leaving the purse at home. When you have small children and an aging brain clearly this isn’t considered best practice. Throw in a trip to COSTCO and you have created the perfect storm for losing stuff. As I began to unload cases of toilet paper and Qtips on to the conveyor belt I noticed the 6 year old had my phone loosely in her grip as she attempted to crawl in the basket and dig out her book buried under said toilet paper. I immediately had a vision of the phone shattering into a million pieces. I grabbed it and set it on the check writing counter. Many pesos and rolls of paper goods later I walked to the car and unloaded the haul. I did my usual self pat down, hmmm no brick in my pocket. I realized I had left my phone on checkout counter. I drag the 6 yr old back into the store walk right up to the same lane and both the checker and bagger look at me like I have lost my mind, no one remember seeing a phone. In less than 15 minutes the phone disappeared.
I tried to see if anyone had an iPad so I could log on to iCloud and locate the phone. I quickly learned that the combination of anxiety and using strangers devices does not produce fruitful results. There was a nice manager at Costco who offer up his iPad but he didn’t have iCloud set up so I couldn’t get to a log on screen at all. People what good is having an Apple device with GPS locating ability if you don’t have it set up on any of your devices! OMG. If you are sitting there thinking oh that’s me, just stop reading and go set up your icloud serioulsy DO IT, I’ll wait.
All you need to do is install the Find My iPhone (or iPad) App on your iPhone/iPad, if it prompts you to sign in with an Apple ID that means you haven’t created an iCloud account. You’ll be prompted to set up an iCloud account using your Apple ID. Once you have set up your iCloud account. Go to your Settings on your iPhone and select iCloud and then toggle the Find My iPhone switch to ON. Don’t forget to install on every Apple OS device, I can find my iPad and Macbook.
By this time almost an hour had passed I knew that phone was long gone. I needed someone with the app installed. MY SON! I thought. Beeline to the high school and within five minutes he had located my phone, I did a remote lock and sent a message asking the person to kindly return the phone to Costco ” I really REALLY need my phone”. I know not very inspiring message was it. By then the phone had already traveled to the neighboring city. I didn’t know what to do, a part of me wanted to drive to the house where the phone seemed to be at but I had no idea who now had possession of the phone, I certainly didn’t want to bring my children into danger over a replaceable handheld device. So I called the police. They were actually happy to help in its recovery but there are certain requirements, you must first file a police report in the city where the phone was last seen and you have to press charges and see the thing through to court should they apprehend the alleged perpetrator. I didn’t have 500 hundred dollars to replace my smartphone so I filed. They sent an officer over who took the report and then we sat at my kitchen table and watched the phone move around on my iPad, it was all over the place at a residence to a local shopping center and then back to a home. Whoever took my phone seemed to be nervous. What we needed was the person to settle down in one place for at least an hour otherwise the police would not attempt a retrieval.
I posted my own APB on facebook. Last seen ironically, Trader Joes store.
Sadly the phone was on the go and the police officer eventually left his card and wished me luck. I sent a few messages to my phone, someone suggested I do a remote wipe but I was nervous because I had just taken a bunch of videos (no!!!! no not that kind of videos you 50 shades readers) from a weekend trip with my husband and I didn’t have them backed up if I sent the remote wipe command those would be lost. My heart sank and I got a little choked up tweeting that I think the reality was that I was never going to see those videos again (photos are automatically synced and saved to the cloud yet another reason your need to set up your icloud account). After a couple hours I checked on the phone it was now in MY NEIGHBORHOOD! It seemed to be sitting in an Italian market so I called them, I sent a remote beacon alert I asked the girl can you hear my phone? Nope. Maybe they ditched it in a trash can. I tried calling the officer he was still out at Costco finishing up the report, I was on my own. I told my son to watch the 6 year old that I was going on a recon to figure out where the phone was. I called my husband en route, he warned me NOT to get into any confrontations I assured him if I saw ANYTHING or ANYONE shady I would ABORT. I’m a wuss people I run when I see dark tinted windows, its pathetic.
I pulled into the parking lot, hands sweating heart pounding. There was a shady dude his face just barely visible under his dark hat, I put my foot on the gas eyes forward. I knew at that moment there was no way I was going to confront anyone and I decided to leave. I pulled over hit refresh on the iPad one last time. The phone had MOVED across the street and was now inside the POLICE DEPARTMENT! Two right turns later I parked and ran through the City Hall doors. I immediately saw my sparkly case in the hands of a sun drenched woman with platinum blonde and dark shades. She was explaining to the officer in her European accent through the thick glass that she was trying to return a phone! I must have yelled “YOU HAVE MY PHONE!!!” because the whole building seemed to stop and I felt all eyes on me. I walked over and the police officer snatched the phone through a small opening. He asked if I could provide the code. The phone unlocked and I was asked to please step outside. The woman stopped me and said she had got home from Costco and felt this weird thing in her purse so she pulled it out to realize she had taken my phone home by accident. I told her about the cops and the GPS and she was so confused when I told I know where you live now! She explained that as soon as she found it she went to every mobile store within a 10 mile radius trying to see if anyone could tell her who the phone belonged to. She finally gave up and decided to get her hair done, next to the ITALIAN MARKET! When she saw my final plea to drop it off at the local Police Dept. she did and there you have it.
Reunited and it feels so goooooooood.
After a few questionsI had to leave a statement basically agreeing to drop all charges (yes they really asked me if I wanted to let her go) to get my phone back. I gave her a HUGE hug and we laughed about the whole thing as we walked to our cars. I told her that I was sorry for all the trouble and that I was so thankful that she tried to find me. We hugged again and as I turned to unlock my car I realized I didn’t have my key. I looked back at my good Samaritan and said ‘Oh I must have forgotten my keys inside” she looked in her hands and started to laugh as she held up her hand ‘oh my I seemed to have taken your key as well’ I doubled over and laughed how is it we both chose to carry THE SAME single car key, thank goodness for my gym card or we wouldn’t have been able to tell who’s keys belong to whom. I told her that I couldn’t have written a better story if I had tried and then I asked for a photo memento. She must have thought I was out of my mind. Who takes pictures of strangers?
Because I really believe “There are no strangers here; only friends you haven’t yet met” – William Butler Yeats