Playing at Pioneer Park. And just moments before my iPhone went "missing."
I almost had to replace yet another iPhone yesterday. No, my phone didn't swan dive into a toilet again, but it was almost as traumatic. Maybe more, actually.
Alice and I went to our local park yesterday morning with G and his mama. This park is less than a block from our downtown loft and spans an entire city block! It has mature trees, lush grass, tennis and volleyball courts, and a playground with slides and swings and monkey bars! It is a little green oasis in the city.
Except that this park is overrun by the homeless and drug dealers and drunks and the like. And it has been for decades.
Just so you don't think I am completely irresponsible for taking my kid to this park, it has become significantly less overrun in the last five or so years and, in fact, it is now the home of the bi-weekly downtown farmers market and weekly free concerts during the summer. But, despite this and despite the frequent bike-cops patrolling the area, there still is a significant vagrant presence on most days of the week (and so became one of my favorite Instagram hashtags #takebackpioneerpark).
So Alice and G were busy running around on the playground while G's mama and I sat talking on the benches. As kids their age do, they wandered off just a little too far so us moms pushed our strollers over to where they were playing. We were talking. The kids were playing. And then I wondered what time it was as I had an afternoon appointment to get to so I went to my stroller to check my phone.
And I couldn't find it anywhere.
Like most diaper bags, mine seems to be a bottomless pit whenever I'm trying to find something. I dug and dug through the snack wrappers and toys and chapsticks and pacifiers trying to find my phone, all as a mild panic set in as each pocket I searched came up empty. My friend said she'd call it to hopefully help me find it. And this is what happened next.
G's mama: Ok, it's ringing.
Me (walking toward the playground, which is 15 feet away): Ok, I'm going to look over here.
(The next is part is all a one-sided conversation)
G's mama: Um, hello? Who is this? I'm sorry, who is this? Well I'm with the owner of the phone that you have. Where are you? You're at the Rescue Mission (one of the local homeless shelters)? Can you bring the phone back to the park? No... I don't really want to walk to the shelter with our kids. Sorry, what? YOU WANT ME TO GIVE YOU SOME MONEY FOR THE PHONE?
(At this point the guy hangs up and my friend relays the conversation to me. Convinced I'm never going to see my phone again, I called Lee to have him shut it down remotely from my iPad. Lee didn't answer so I decided to call the iPhone thief back myself)
Me: Hi. Ya this is the owner of that iPhone that you have. So can you please bring it back to me? Please?!
Guy: Ya I saw this phone just sitting on the bench near the playground and I picked it up so that no one would steal it.
Me (thinking, BUT YOU DID STEAL IT!): Um, ok. Thanks, but can I have it back now?
Guy: Can you give me $5 for it? Or whatever? How will I find you?
Me: Fine. Just bring it back. And we're the only two moms with kids in the park. You can't miss us.
So this upstanding citizen did, indeed, bring my phone back and I handed him a five-dollar bill for his troubles (!!). And then I fully sanitized it with baby wipes before patting myself on the back for keeping that annoying passcode on my phone because without it, and with full access to my phone, possibly making it that much easier to sell for more than $5, who knows if he would've brought it back.
Would you have paid the iPhone ransom? Or would you have just hoped he'd bring it back out of the kindess of his heart?
My stolen iPhone didn't ruin their fun.