Tuesday, January 24, 2006

St. Anthony keeps sending us wayward cell phones. This time it was Mark who saw this little silver one, shown next to a couple of familiar objects to provide a sense of scale, in the park adjacent to the subway station he uses daily.

It must have sat in the rain yesterday, judging fron the amount of condensation visible inside the LCD screen. Mark thought it was ruined, and I wouldn't have been surprised if he was right. It was obviously off; its screen was completely blank.

For the heck of it, I started trying to turn it on. I thought that finding the phone's own number would bring us that much closer to locating its owner.

The first few buttons I tried produced no effect. But then I noticed a transparent button on top of the phone. When I pushed that one, BINGO! The little phone came to life.

Allow me to take this opportunity to rant because cell phone designs are SO inconsistent from one device to the next. *Every* phone should make it simple to find and display its owner's contact information and its own number. Why? Because, as I've witnessed twice in the past 4 days, mishaps happen and phones go missing.

So anyway, after some treasure hunting through a bunch of menus, I did manage to unearth the cell phone's number, as well as the most likely candidate to be the owner's landline number. (It was labeled "Home" in the recently-called numbers list.)

So we called it. The young kid who answered was able to describe the phone *and* the banner saying on the LCD screen, so I was sure it belonged to the kid. He provided an address that's about a half mile from where Mark found the phone.

Mark just came back from dropping it off. The kid and his mother both thanked him.

So that's one missing-phone story with a happy ending. I hope the guest services desk where I work had similar success locating the owner of the phone I turned in to them on Friday.

And whatever you do, keep careful track of your phones!

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