Friday, July 27, 2012

♫ I Left My Tablet at Heathrow Airport ♫

Photo Credit
I was headed from London to Houston, trapped between the window of the plane, a large, sleeping man in the next seat and the passenger in front of me reclining into my personal space. That's when I realized that I was missing my new Toshiba tablet. I reached down and found my elephant bag (what a great find that was in the Bujumbura airport, a huge lightweight bag that can carry almost anything, and lots of it!) and began blindly fishing for the tablet, but I couldn't find it. While I was still at Heathrow I should have noticed that the bag felt lighter, but I'd missed that clue in my travel stupor.

When I could manage it, I pulled the elephant bag up onto my lap where I could see inside and started digging through it. No tablet.

Thinking back about my morning -- running through Heathrow, wandering through Heathrow, passing through multiple security checks at Heathrow -- I realized I had left it in the security check bin at Terminal 4. I had taken it out of the elephant bag, set it in the bin, and put the bag in the same bin. I must have picked up the bag and forgotten the tablet.

Even though we had limited access to internet while we were gone I had been able to get lots of video footage on the tablet. I was anxious to get it back.

When I got home I went to the Heathrow website. There I found that they record all the lost items they find on their MissingX list. Whenever something is found they record the category (clothing, computer, etc), the name (hat, shirt, toy), the model number, the office where it was processed and the date. Perusing their list, it looks like they record about 200 items a day. My tablet was not on the list.

So I looked around till I found a place where I could report the tablet missing. It was a thorough report and asked for very specific details, like songs on the tablet. I filled it out and, if they found the tablet, it would be obvious that it was mine. I waited. I continued to check their MissingX page. I received an email response to the report I had filed. No tablet. And then, a few days later, the tablet is on the list!

Just a few more e-mails and the tablet is on its way to me! Of course there is a charge for administrative costs and for mailing. Generally I'd balk at the cost -- $83.83! But it's worth the money to have my tablet back, and to see a system work so smoothly.

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Here's a fun report from WAMU 88.5 radio called Rummaging in the Lost and Found Bin and talks about the lost and found items at airports and train stations. 

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