My Overly Mobile Mobile

My first act as a thirtysomething has happened. The marker of things to come. That thing that makes you realize your mind was a terrible thing to waste…

I forgot my damn phone in a taxi yesterday.

I’m not 100% on how it happened, and only came to the conclusion after tearing apart my bag, my pants and half my apartment looking for it. My best guess is that it slid off the seat without me noticing in the jerk-n-go taxi ride to work yesterday (did I mention I’m teaching an hour and a half a day still? Somethings are harder to leave than you think – especially at 200 RMB/hr).

Like Sichuan food through my colon, I went through the stages of grief lightning fast and arrived at the little touted 6th phase – the one that gets me a new phone.

Still I’m a tad bummed about the whole thing. It ruins what has been a bit of a point of pride with me. Having travelled to some 12 countries in the last four odd years, I’ve not lost or had stolen a single thing.

We attempted to call the phone several times, and once or twice someone answered, but said nothing. I’m curious now if they were just waiting for a ransom price to be shouted out. We then sent a text message with promises of a reward for its return, but alas, it’s yielded no results.

It’s got me thinking too, cell phones have to be the easiest thing to return to their owner should the finder have any amount of honesty. However, generally no one would expect it to be returned. It says something about how we think of strangers, and also, how strangers are.

What do you guys think? Do you think it’s the same the world over? If you found someone’s phone (or other personally identifiable thing for that matter), would you return it? Do you expect others to do so?

12 Responses

  1. I had a friend do the same thing here in SH and the cabbie just held onto it until they called. I was impressed for sure.
    They just had to pay the guy the fare of bringing it to them and , wallah, phone returned.
    I do think that kind of experience is the exception though, world over.
    I’ve had friends loose phones in the states and have either no luck getting an answer or no luck getting an intelligible one.
    I for one can say I would definitely give it back. It’s the little things man….

    ps, happy birthday πŸ˜‰

  2. bad luck, eh. same thing happened to me 2 years ago: slipped out of my pocket, realised about 5 minutes later, called my own mobile from my home phone, some bugger had switched it off (and presumably pocketed it).

    i would very probably return a phone i found, in the hope of better karma later πŸ˜‰

    you do know you can reclaim yr original number by showing yr ID/passport at China Mobile? Saves you swapping numbers.

  3. I would and I have returned a lost phone and refused the 100 rmb the owner tried to give me as a reward but I think it’s important to bear in mind I earn a reasonable salary and someone else’s phone is of no special value to me.

    I am not justifying people keeping phones they found but think it’s important to understand that for some people this is like us finding a bag with 2000 US dollars in cash. And what if it was 10,000 dollars or 50,000 dollars or 100,000 dollars?

    I’d probably still return it because of the karma reason but we have to accept many would be tempted not to.

  4. sorry about your bad luck…I had a friend who forgot their phone in a cab in Chicago, fortunately she realized it quickly and called the driver from a friend’s phone after 10-15 minutes. The driver returned to where they were and gave it to her and didn’t even make her pay the price to return to that location or anything.

  5. All I can say is I’m a bit jealous of all these people that had their phones returned πŸ™‚ I’m off tomorrow to get a new one. Hopefully I’ll not lose it on the way home.

    @Steven: I recently learned that about keeping the number – that’s a blessing.

    @Woaizhongguo: I agree, I can definitely see there being more of a temptation to keep it here. It doesn’t make it right though.

  6. “Do you think it’s the same the world over? If you found someone’s phone (or other personally identifiable thing for that matter), would you return it? Do you expect others to do so?”

    You are obviously not from the American south, are you? πŸ˜‰

  7. I once left my cell phone in a bathroom of a Waffle House. No, I wasn’t sitting on the pot and making phone calls. πŸ™‚ Anyway, 5 minutes down the road it hit me that I had left it on the sink and rushed back to get it. I didn’t see it in the bathroom and felt really bummed, but thought I should ask any of the waitresses if they had seen it before crying a river. I was rather lucky. Someone found it and handed it over to the staff and then the staff called the number that said Mom. I was a very happy individual. And this was in the American south by the way.

  8. I thought I did the same thing yesterday and spent an entire dinner thinking about how I no longer had a phone.

    When I got home it was sitting on the kitchen table.

    I swear I have the memory of a 90 year old some days. Glad you got a new one.

  9. give the phone back – taxi drivers aren’t rich by any means but they make a decent salary – it was probably another customer who snagged your phone, Ryan, and anyone who can afford to take a cab ride in China can afford to not steal the phone.

    But you and I are not the one who took the phone…

  10. I can relate to this lost phone experience. Yea, it happened to me in Wuhan, China. Got out of a taxi and it slipped out of a side pocket on my pants. Called the phone and the driver answered and just laughed….Each time I called, the same response!!! I lost a camera in a taxi in the Philippines and no luck getting it back…..However, in Tokyo, I lost my wallet and didn’t even know it until the taxi driver tracked me down at my girlfriend’s flat! To this day I don’t know how it all went down, but all my money was still intact and I’m still sure that if you lose something, Japan is the best place to lose it!

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