Anyone lose a cell phone? I found one on the sidewalk last night.
I was walking home from the metro station and saw a charming scene. First, a man talking on his phone passed me going the other way. A little later, a woman in front of me stopped and picked up a small black object that looked like a wallet. I continued walking past her as she examined it, then she turned back and ran after the first guy.
I continued on, glancing over my shoulder at the good deed in progress. She caught up to the guy, then stopped him and they had a little dialog. The return didn’t appear to be working out. She looked my way and I turned and continued on, not wanting to project a misleading interest in the object.
I walked on a bit, then looked back in time to see the woman leave the wallet on the sidewalk about where she found it, then she walked off. Now I was invested in the scene and couldn't leave. I went back and picked up the wallet and found it was a cell phone case with an old iPhone inside. I checked it out, making awkward eye contact with other people passing by. (I remembered when a friend picked up a non-trivial banknote from the ground, asked the nearest passer-by if they dropped it, and the passer-by said “yeah” and took it after a brief but telling beat.)
The phone was locked with a passcode, and a pocket held a number of identical business cards of “Jessie L___”, a store manager at Harris Teeter in Warrenton, a distant town. I knew there was something I should do, but couldn’t figure out what it was. I texted the phone number on the card but the cell phone didn’t react. I called the number and got a recorded greeting from Harris Teeter.
I googled the name and got a promising Facebook result, but the page was a bunch of other Jessies. Some more hits from those scammy sites that promise all Jessie’s details once you pay up.
I tried 1234 for the passcode. Then I tried the Emergency Call feature, using my own number. As I dialed, I wondered why it would help me to get the caller ID of the lost phone, and decided that maybe the area code would help me decide if the owner might be local and likely to return soon. It was cold out and I still had 20 minutes to walk. I was outside a closed dry cleaners and a few doors down from a restaurant.
The emergency call didn’t work. I tried some recent birth years for the passcode until the phone locked up. I went home.
A while later, the phone showed a notification of a small purchase at Big Lots paid by Google Wallet. So I learned that people still use Google Wallet.
Finally, around 9 p.m., an incoming call from ”Wife” sounded the Bruno Mars ringtone. “Hello,” I answered, not sure what else to say. “Who are you?” Wife asked. She was with Jessie, at home in Woodbridge, another distant town. She relayed dialog between me and Jessie for a while, then finally put him on the line. He decided to come retrieve the phone. We met outside a nearby coffee shop half an hour later, and the world became a little more orderly.
Now I just have to figure out how to get “Just the Way You Are” out of my head.