Monday, September 16, 2013

Lost In The Parking Garage

When the alarm went off at 6:30 this morning, I had to remind myself that I had an 8 o'clock training session at the Apple Store.  Mornings are not my fave time of day and kick-starting my brain for a computer class was not high on my priority list.  But, if you've ever been in an Apple Store, you know the place is usually always crowded and loud-- but not at 8AM before the store opens, thus my appointment.

The store is located in an upscale, outdoor shopping mall and also includes a high end grocery store plus a massive, multi-level, underground parking garage that I many or may not have been lost in a few hundred times over the years.

My session was going along swimmingly and I was picking up bits and pieces of info on my new MacBook Pro (which I LOVE!) when a lovely woman, probably in her 70s-- gorgeous actually, and very elegant-- came into the store clearly upset.  She reminded me of Catherine Deneuve and had the same lovely accent that sounds like a delicious melody despite her unsettled demeanour.

Apparently the woman had had an Apple training session the night before. Afterward she packed up her laptop and stopped by the grocery store.  After filling her cart with food for the week, she skipped the valet parking attendants who help load your groceries into your car and opted to do it herself.

Somehow in the process, she forgot to take her laptop out of the "kid's seat" in the front of the cart and drove off with her computer still in the cart in the parking garage.  She didn't realize her mistake until well after she'd driven home, unloaded her groceries, cooked dinner and had a bath.  In other words, there wasn't a  snowball's chance in hell she would drive back to the mall and still find her cart with the laptop.

Many frantic phone calls to the grocery store and mall security to no avail, she was at the Apple Store bright and early in hopes that some upstanding citizen might have found it, done the right thing, and dropped the laptop off at the Apple Store.

That did not happen.

So there she was, disappointed, upset and embarrassed by her mistake.  The Apple guy, as they always are, was fabulous and helped her "lock her computer" so who ever had it wouldn't be able to use it.  This process included typing a message to appear on the screen telling the thief where to return her computer.

The Apply guy typed with purpose, almost pounding on the keys-- in all bold letters as if to make a stern "I really mean it!" statement.


The lovely French woman thought about it for a moment and said in her elegant voice, "That seems rather harsh."  The Apple guy, who was about 22 justified his strong message and commented that he left out a few choice words.

The woman stepped in, erased his message and typed...

Would you please be so kind as to return my computer to the Apple Store at --- mall.  If that is not possible, would you please take a moment and email the photos of my darling grandchildren that can be found in iPhoto to (email address).  I would be most appreciative.
Thank you.

In all honesty, I doubt the computer or photos will ever be seen again but I was impressed by how this lovely woman kept her grace even under difficult circumstances.

If it was me, I'd have said something like...

If you can read message you have my computer which means...

1) Are a really, really great person trying to find the rightful owner. (Me!)  Your karma will be off the carts fantastic if you would kindly return it to the Apple Store.  Please and thank you very much!

2) You've already hacked into my accounts and stolen my identity which means you're greatly disappointed in my net worth and music selection on iTunes.

3) You've wiped my cherished photos clean and already sold the laptop on eBay-- You suck-- Plain and simple.  If your mother knew, she'd slap you across the face and kick you to the curb.

4) Your conscious is eating away at your brain and if you don't do the right thing by returning my laptop, locus, lice, and bedbugs will arrive at your doorstep and in your car before the sun sets.  Seriously.  There's still time to save yourself by returning my computer.  (Pretty please.)

5) If you don't return my computer, for the rest of your life you will know you are a dirty, rotten, thief and you will never, ever, be able to wash that stink off. 

So please, PLEASE, drop off my computer ASAP before you hear the locus buzzing.

What would you say?
Welcome to  -  Joanna Jenkins
Photo credit: © Luis Louro -


  1. It might be worth trying some humor. It's not like the person stole the computer so maybe they just are looking for a reward for their lucky find and the owner unlucky mistake.
    I'm still trying to my head around an 8 AM training session.

  2. I would have gone right along with the kid at the store. He was right on! How very very sad... I had an iPad stolen out of my car a while back. It was very traumatic, but it was locked immediately and never turned on again, once they realized it could be traced.

  3. Ummm, I couldn't have been so pleasant and generous myself. Some people just have a natural kindness and grace - I didn't get that. I work hard for what I have and I would really piss me off -that said it was her mistake and she wasn't careful with something valuable, so in a way I think that's the only way to go. Hope your lesson went well. Hugs!!

  4. what an awful nightmarish thing to happen! I would be short and to the point, in a futile kind of way!

  5. oh what i would say would not be very nice...ha...perhaps her sugar will get more love than my horn of the least it is locked eh? i guess they can hack that though. maybe...i hope she gets it back...

  6. I rather like what the woman said, but I imagine it is less about what is said and more about who has the computer that will matter.

  7. I'd probably go with the unprintables. But the question is: Did she have insurance, and will the computer be replaced?

  8. My message on the screen would probably be sweet but I'd be a raging, swearing maniac in person. I'm so thankful for iCloud so I don't have to worry about losing my pictures (which are really the only thing of value on my computer).
    Eight a.m. appointments at the Apple Store?! I'm going to have to check into that!

  9. Considering that it was most likely a young person who would find it and not return it, I'd say I would have gone with the 22 year old's versions of things. Sort of like having a dog speak with another dog....

    But, I suppose the woman of a certain elegant age is like we are now that we've been around the block or two and knows a thing is simply a thing and can be replaced.

    Finally, this, " the same lovely accent that sounds like a delicious melody despite her unsettled demeanour," THIS, is another outstanding example of why I love to read what you write....

  10. What rotten luck for that poor woman. I'd be inclined to go her route...since she left it in the cart. Oy.

  11. Awesome post. I wish that poor woman well. I would not have been as gracious - more like your style. And I would have been a blathering blubbering mess to boot.

  12. I am loving my new Macbook Air. Better not take it to the grocery store. Dianne

  13. What a fabulous post. I wonder what I would have written. Probably NOT the XyZ! Possibly a mix of yours and the French woman's. I hope there is a happy ending. I've heard of worse...

  14. I'm sorry, I would rather have the laptop than the food, so the laptop would be safe in the car before any groceries are touched. Glad you like your new laptop, I am an Apple person too. When my friends have trouble with their computers I can hardly remember how to do anything on a computer that is not an Apple. Things are so much easier on Apple. What takes two to three clicks on other computers takes one click on Apple. The woman sounds like a lovely lady, did she buy another computer?

  15. Since the store had just opened and the computer likely found the night before, I think it's a bad idea to go right on the offensive. If I were the person who found it and had intended to take it to the store, that might change my mind. I think the French woman was right - you might as well appeal to the good in someone.

  16. Holy cow! I didn't realize you could put up a message like that let alone remotely. My experience has been that people never NEVER return lost things. And in L.A.? Forget it. That thing was hacked and sold before that message even went up. Sad but true. Once in a blue moon, people do the right thing and I am shocked. Shows how jaded I am.

  17. I can only hope that at age 70ish I'd be so gracious! :D Great post!

  18. This is great. I might write: "If your mother was watching you right now, what would she think? Make your mom proud and kindly return this computer to xxxx, no questions asked."

    Congrats on your Huffington Post recognition, Joanna! :)

  19. I'd either post what you wrote, or being that I'm from the East Coast, I'd keep it short and sweet and write: Hey Thief, Bite Me and return my laptop ASAP.

  20. I'm not sure what I'd say butI love your post. Fro one fifty something counting wrinkles to another :)

  21. I would be so busy kicking myself I wouldn't be able to type from my injuries


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