This familiar face turned out to be mine. Familiar to someone else, that is.
The story goes, I was standing in line (4 deep, 1 window open, but I was the only one not grumbling about it -- hey, people, try standing in line less than a week before Christmas at the Burbank Main Post Office -- if you can even get IN the building).
The kindly woman in front of me turns around and says point blank to my face, "don't you live close by?"
Taken aback slightly, I recovered and responded, "Why yes, I do...just a few houses away."
Donning a large grin and nodding her head, she replied, "I thought so...you found my son's phone!"
Let me explain.
Several months back, I found a brand spankin' new flip-up Verizon cell phone lying in a 4-way intersection, open and on. Since I was on my way to drop C off at school, I simply grabbed it, tossed it onto the floor of my car, and zoomed off.
After the fracas of the morning school drop-off (enter from the north, exit from the south, keep the line moving, don't shut off your motor...) I returned home and preceded to try to track down the owner of the phone.
First name on the address list was "Dad." I called him.
Me - Hi, I found this cell ph--
Dad - Who's this?
Me - My name is Xxxxx and I found this cell phone---
Dad - Sorry, what -- I don't know anyone -- what -- hold on, my son wants to talk to you.
Some familiar fumbling and tussling sounds eminate from the speaker before the line goes dead. Call dropped.
I call Dad again.
Me - Hi, me again.
Dad - Oh, it's that same feller..here, you talk to him, I can't hear him that well...
His son gets on the line, we clear it all up and he's going to come by my house to pick it up. Apparently he was on his way to the airport, opened his door, the phone fell out of his jacket pocket, and they've been driving around for 20 minutes looking for it.
I gave him my address, directions from where they were (3 blocks away), a description of my house, landmarks, even a quick rundown of what I looked like (dashingly handsome, early-40's cross between an Asian-Elvis -- before he got really phat, and Bolo, the ugly bad guy from "Enter the Dragon").
I told him I'd keep HIS cell phone on me and to call HIS cell phone if he got lost. He asked for my cell phone #, just in case, which I don't understand why he wanted it, but I gave it to him anyway.
10 minutes later, no sign of them. I have HIS cell phone which hasn't rung. I go inside to find MY cell phone ringing.
Yep, it's them. Why he didn't call his own cell phone is beyond me. Maybe he was short on minutes.
I answer MY cell phone, go back to my front porch to play disaster-movie-air traffic controller and talk him in.
A quick 180 degree scan finds him sitting at the intersection diagonal to me, talking on his Dad's cell phone, scanning the street for me and my house.
I can see his face. I can see his Dad's face. I can see his panic stricken eyes darting up and down the street.
I resort to wild arm gesticulations to get his attention.
His eagle eye spots me. They're headed my way, but have to navigate the 4-lane highway to get to me.
I lower my arms in calm relief. Mistake.
The iron grip I had on the phone a split second ago has been replaced by the unguarded feeling of final release. The phone, their phone, HIS phone, plummets to the ground proximal to my slipper clad feet.
It bounces. I scramble. It doesn't shatter. No harm done.
They pull in to the driveway. Did they see?
They were in a rush, but very appreciative and the Dad seemed happier than the Son to get the phone back. Handshakes were exchanged, nods and smiles were the norm, and they headed back south, never to cross my life path again.
The mother-of-the-son-whose-cell-phone-I-found and I had a nice chat reliving the events of that morning, and she expressed her appreciation for what I did.
Guess she figured that there are so few of us Asian-Elvis / Bolo looking guys in town, that I must have been the one who found/returned her son's phone.
What would my small town do without me?
For a companion story to this one, go here