He looks at me with terror in his eyes and utters the words that would send chills down anyone’s spine: “I lost my phone.”
Mark (@Xtramoney) is tapping each pocket, more and more frantically. I say the most unhelpful thing, but it’s the thing everyone says in this situation: “Where did you have it last?”
We think. Was it in the coffee shop? I call quickly, and they look. No. It’s not there.
Mark remembers having it out in the cab. I call his phone a few times, but no one picks it up.
I open a browser and look up the Yellow Cab Lost and Found. You have to file a form online. Mark paid in cash and did not get a receipt, and neither of us remember the cab number.
Mark looks like someone just kicked his puppy. “Is there a way to track it?” he asks out loud.
We both have Google Pixel phones. @Xtramoney and I are Google Ambassadors, and as such, they give us free stuff like the Pixel. We are still learning it, so we are not sure if there is a “Find My iPhone”-type function.
“Oh!” the lightbulb moment happened. “I can see it!”
One of the new functions on the Google Maps app is that you can share your location real-time with friends. Luckily, we had enabled it for each other. I opened the app and we could see Mark’s little avatar bopping around Manhattan.
We ran to the nearest taxi and dramatically instructed the driver to follow that cab! (Then we showed him the screen and explained what we meant.) Well, we picked the right cab driver. Ibrahim embraced the challenge like it was his own precious smart phone that was perilously close to being lost forever.
“It’s headed uptown!” Mark instructed. “It’s stopped at Fordham!”
“West Side Highway? No, it’s coming down 11th!”
Ibrahim weaved through honking cars, sped through yellow lights, and nearly ran down elderly pedestrians while we cheered him on from the back seat. He planned aloud to cut off the cab and brake so that Mark could jump out and get the phone. Ibrahim is the embodiment of everything that is wonderful about New York.
After taking a ridiculous route uptown, we slowed. The avatar bubble had stopped moving, and we were close. Mark remembered the taxi we were in looked like a Prius, and the driver was a thin, middle-aged black guy in a white shirt. We saw the taxi! But it was empty.
Ibrahim was scanning the streets with intensity. “The Subway!” he yelled with excitement. He pointed to a Subway sandwich shop on the block. Mark dashed in and sure enough, the driver had parked his taxi to get some food. He quickly got over the shock of being accosted and let Mark into his cab so Mark could retrieve the phone. It had slid under one of the seats.
Mark returned to Ibrahim’s car triumphantly and we breathed a collective sigh of relief, probably just like SEAL Team Six does after extracting a prisoner of war.
I’m not sure what the moral of this story is, but I think maybe it's f$%k Uber, take NY yellow cabs. They're awesome.
Blogging my path as a professional photojournalist / social media addict / influencer