A Final Thought: Has Anyone Seen My iPhone?


By Mitch Allen

Hurricane Ida Update: In last month’s column I published excerpts of messages from my cousin about how devastating Hurricane Ida had been to southern Louisiana, and I included the address of her local VFW Auxiliary in case Mimi readers wanted to help.

Well, help you did.

At last count, kind readers, you have donated $9,800 to the VFW Auxiliary. Keep in mind this is a small organization whose budget is based on $15 annual dues and a yard sale which had to be cancelled this year because of the hurricane. Your gifts made such an impact that local leaders are now in contact with the state VFW treasurer to ensure they handle the funds appropriately.

Last Sunday my cousin volunteered to write thank you notes to the donors. She said they went through a box of 50 and didn’t come close to finishing. Many of the donations were accompanied by sweet notes that made the volunteers cry. One volunteer said, “These people are so nice. We should move to Ohio.”

The Auxiliary has decided to spend the bulk of the donations helping people “way down the bayou,” those whom FEMA and the Red Cross have yet to reach. Many have lost jobs and homes. Many more are living with tarps over what’s left of their roofs.

This VFW Auxiliary is made up of hands-on, hard-working people, so they don’t just want to write checks. They plan on going down the bayou personally to pass out food and ensure every penny is well spent. They’ve also planned two restaurant nights in which a closed restaurant can reopen for a day and give away meals. As someone who supports locally owned businesses, I think that’s a win-win.

The organization has also reached out to a South Lafourche veterans group for a needs assessment and spending guidance.

From the bottom of my heart, thank you for the generosity you have shown to my cousin, her organization, and the people of southern Louisiana. Merci beaucoup!

Speaking of good deeds, last Saturday I left my phone in the restroom of a local grocery store. When I went back to retrieve it, it was gone. The phone case also contained my driver’s license and two credit cards. I checked at the customer service counter but no one had turned it in.

I checked back—again and again—all day long. Apparently whoever found it had decided to keep it. My wife and kids called the phone throughout the day but the thief never answered. I borrowed a neighbor’s phone and spent the afternoon cursing humanity, cancelling my credit card and freezing my debit card.

My wife was in Georgia for the weekend visiting her parents, so we emailed back and forth. I said goodnight to her on a Zoom call. Sunday morning I opened my laptop to see an email from her that read, “Wake up! We found your phone!”

After a few emails and texts, I learned that my father-in-law had called my phone from Georgia and someone had answered. It was an older gentleman named Keith who, though somewhat confused about where he lived, revealed his address. He said he had the phone and would gladly return it.

My wife had also spoken with Keith and told me the whole thing seemed suspicious. She begged me not to meet the man alone, so via email I asked my son-in-law to call this apparent underworld spy and arrange a meeting. Keith said he had no phone (other than mine), no email and no car, so we agreed to meet him at a bus stop near a convenience store. I also asked my son-in-law to bring $100 as a reward in case we weren’t about to be robbed at gunpoint.

We set 9:00 a.m. on Sunday morning as our rendezvous time with Keith, but he did not show. We called him again and he said he was just leaving. It was beginning to rain so we agreed to meet in a parking lot closer to his apartment.

As Keith approached, walking slowly in the light rain, it was clear that he was no underworld spy. He was old—with a weathered face, tattered clothes, long grey hair, and no front teeth. He handed me my iPhone and we shook hands. When he saw the 100-dollar bill, his eyes lit up and he grinned ear to ear, thanking me a dozen times as he clutched Benjamin Franklin.

When we parted ways, I used my phone to unfreeze my debit card and returned to the grocery store where I had abandoned my cart the day before having no way to pay. As I meandered through the produce aisle, I looked down to see a cell phone lying in my cart, its case bulging with a driver’s license, several credit cards and receipts.

It wasn’t mine.

I dropped the phone off at the customer service counter and while there bought a Mega Millions lottery ticket, thinking the universe was somehow bending its will in my direction.

I didn’t win...but I kinda did.


Categories: Smart Living