Lost mobile phones and taxi drivers

Normally a story about lost mobile phones and a taxi involves the passenger leaving their prized possession behind, and their difficult quest to be reunited with it – but this tale flips it right around.

Queue of taxis at Melbourne Airport

We start in the Melbourne CBD, and myself taking my usual lunchtime walk. Crossing the road at the busy intersection of King and Flinders Streets, I found a Nokia ‘brick’ phone scattered across the asphalt, smashed into three pieces. I looked at the remains for a second – phone, battery and rear cover – until I decided to pick them up before the next car smashed them to smithereens.

Siemens 827M on the viaduct passes over King Street

The SIM card was still there and the battery slipped into place without any trouble, so I held down the power switch hoping for some signs of life. Thankfully the phone burst into life, so I checked the phone book to see how I could reunite the phone with the original owner.

My first lead was to see if there was a ‘home’ or ‘Mum and Dad’ number listed – but no luck there. No success under the list of recently used contacts either: only bare numbers and a few text messages related to being picked up from the airport.

By that point I figured the owner was a tourist or overseas student who had left the country and didn’t need the phone anymore, so I just sent a text message out to a half dozen contacts:

Hi, I found this phone on the street. How can I return it to you.

About five minutes later I got a phone call from a person with a foreign accent saying something I could hardly understand over the noise of trains passing by overhead, coupled with what sounded like a two way radio in the background at his end. Combined with the random phone numbers and the reference to the airport – was he was a taxi driver?

In the end I managed to let him know my current location, and he asked if I could wait around for 10 more minutes so he could pick it up – that wasn’t any trouble for me, so I kept my eye out for a taxi – dozens went past as I waited…

Soon enough I got another call – the cabbie was almost there – when I realised I should ask for this taxi number so I could pick him out from the crowds. Soon enough he pulled up at the kerb, and I handed his phone back – turns out it was his work number, so he was rather grateful.

Hopefully if I ever lose something, my story will also have a happy ending.

Toyota Camry sedan as a Melbourne taxi

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One Response to “Lost mobile phones and taxi drivers”

  1. David says:

    Hi Marcus,

    Well done. It’s good to see a person that does things for other people’s benefit.
    How about starting a campaign for all the people who make the effort. There could be an ethos/code, and goals/ideals.
    I walk in my neighbourhood twice a day, and see so much unlawful behavior (mostly drivers) that it is quite disheartening sometimes.
    I report things to my local council as I see them e.g. broken signs, footpaths, shopping trolleys, dumped cars, etc. but I seem to be in a very small minority…


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