Friday, September 11, 2009

Detours on the Highway of Life

Yesterday we had an appointment with friends and colleagues in Toronto, so off we went, winding our way through some back roads to avoid Highway 401, notorious for its traffic jams into the city on weekday mornings. It turned out to be a wise decision because when we passed over the highway later on, traffic was stacked and packed solid and unmoving for as far as the eye could see in both directions!

Part way to Toronto, we received a call on our cell phone. The appointment had to be changed to another day because something had come up for our friends. So now what? Well, we’d planned to go to do some shopping in Burlington later on in the day anyway. Got a wedding to get ready for, you know! So we just changed direction and headed there.

At the mall in Burlington, I noticed a cell phone sitting on the back of a toilet in the men’s washroom. I picked it up, wondering whose it was and how I was going to get it back to him (I assumed it’s a “him” because it was in the men’s washroom :) That’s one of the problems with cell phones. People don’t usually put their names on them or in them. I guess I could have taken it to mall security or the mall administration office, but what if the person who lost it couldn’t remember where he’d lost it and didn’t come back to the mall to ask for it?

I began flipping through the contact list in hopes of finding something I could use. At first, there was nothing. I had no idea who the people in the list were. But then I saw something, two entries together: First “Cathie” and then “Cathie’s parents”. Well that looked hopeful. Maybe Cathie was his wife or girlfriend...

I called “Cathie” and a woman answered the phone. I didn’t know quite how to begin the conversation! What do you say in such a situation? Finally I just said, “Hi. I found this phone in a washroom in a mall in Burlington. Do you know who this number belongs to?” The lady replied, “Yes! It’s my boyfriend’s phone! He’s on his way to Toronto today.” We went on to discuss how we could get him his phone back. She obviously couldn’t get hold of him because I had his phone. And she didn’t have a car to come to the mall to get it.

Finally I asked where she was. It turns out that she worked in an office building in downtown Hamilton, about a 20-minute drive away. So I said that after we finished our business in the mall, we’d come to her workplace and drop the phone off.

An hour or so later, we were coming up to the address, so I called Cathie again. “I’ll meet you downstairs,” she said. There was no parking allowed on the street at that point, so we pulled up behind a bus and waited. “Okay, I’m here,” said Cathie a few seconds later. “I have long blond hair and a black top. Where are you?” We told her that we were in a blue Toyota Matrix behind the bus. Soon, a young blond lady talking on a cell phone came into view. “I see you!” she said excitedly, and came running over. We handed her the cell phone. “Thanks a lot!” she replied. “You’ve restored my faith in human nature!”

Well, that was enough good deeds for one day. Don’t want to overdo it, right? Besides, it was lunchtime.

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