We were released early from work on the Friday before Memorial Day and I peeled out of the lot looking forward to treating myself with a little summer wardrobe shopping before I had to pick up the boys from day care. I snickered thinking of my husband still stuck at his office, toiling away, while I got to indulge in free time. I wanted to call him and say ‘nana nana boo boo’. At a particularly long light, I glanced around for my phone, only to realize it wasn’t in my purse. It wasn’t on the car seat. It wasn’t wedged between the seats.
I must have left it at the office, and leaving it there over a long weekend was not a comfortable option. By the time I returned, nearly a quarter of my free time was gone. I rummaged through my desk draws and moved piles of papers around. No luck. I called my cell phone from my office phone. Silence.
I started to panic. If it wasn’t in my office, could I have left it at the restaurant where I had gone for lunch that day? I hadn’t much cared about my cell phone before back when I had a dumb phone, it was just a tool, but now my smart phone was filled with photos and videos of my boys. I was rapidly turning into Smeagol bemoaning the loss of his precious.
I high-tailed it over to the restaurant. The lunch staff was long gone and there was nothing resembling my phone in the lost and found drawer. My free time was now half over. I returned to my office a second time to retrace all of my steps between lunch and that afternoon.
No nook or cranny was left unchecked. Still nothing. I called my husband. He had taken me to lunch that day. Did I leave the phone in his car? No.
At this point I had run out of time. Forget about the summer clothes, it was time to pick up the boys. I wished I had never contemplated gloating about getting to leave early. Karma. She isn’t the kind you want to mess with.
Quasi-resigned to filing insurance claims etc, I tried to calm down while I drove home. I then remembered the concerns about lack of privacy surrounding my brand of phone’s automatic communication with GPS . The boys were barely released from their car seats before I was logged into the phone’s website. Sure enough, there was an option to locate my phone. A few clicks later, Poof, there it was. A stationary dot on the map hovering over the restaurant.
In most cases I view Big Brother as the Orwellian villain, but in this case I have to admit he took care of Little Sis.
I called my husband and told him he had to go get it now. He told me he had a flat tire. I called the restaurant and told them they had my phone. They told me to call back later when the evening manager was there. I made it very clear that I would accept no excuses! I was less than my best. I didn’t care. I demanded action – now!
A short time, I saw the dot begin to move. Now I was really panicking. Someone was running away with my property. I thought to myself, I should never have told the restaurant he was coming. A few mouse clicks later I had sent the phone into full lock down mode. Now no one would be able to operate it but me. Cue manic laughter!
The house phone rang. It was my husband. He and the restaurant staff had located my phone. Apparently one of the lunch staff, recognizing its value, had hidden it away from the general lost and found to ensure that it was kept safely hidden from casual view until it was reclaimed. The staff had remained courteous and helpful with my husband even after hearing the sharper side of my tongue.
I was solely responsible for blowing my opportunity for “me time”. However I had redirected my anger and frustration with myself at everyone else. Even though the phone’s loss was not their problem, they had responded as I should have from the start, with professionalism and courtesy.
At least that is how they presented themselves on the surface. Who know what kind of service I might receive on my next visit? Or worse, what kind of additives will be in my food? I may never get to fully enjoy a meal there again, at least not for the next several weeks. I’d be constantly worried that they will somehow remember me as the irrational woman who deserves less than their best.
It never had to be this way. If I had better controlled my anger from the start, returning their professionalism with calm, I might now be able to order some tasty food with confidence without the side of guilt and shame.
I’ll have to tip them more the next time I go there. On second thought perhaps I should tip them first before I eat…, just in case…