It was about 1:45 when I landed in Atlanta this past Sunday afternoon, and as soon as I got off the plane, I came up with a plan. I had a little over an hour until my flight to Birmingham, so I wanted to get to my gate, grab a sandwich, eat some lunch, and hopefully have time for a round or two of Candy Crush while I sipped on a pre-flight two-pump pumpkin spice latte’.
Listen. Sometimes a mental to-do list is the only thing that gets me through the day. And also caffeine.
So I hopped on the subway / tram thing for a ride to the next terminal, found my gate, stopped at Atlanta Bread Company for a sandwich, then tried to gauge whether or not there was time for a PSL. Since the line at Starbucks was surprisingly short, I decided that time was in fact on my side. I ran in the restroom, washed my hands, dashed over to Starbucks, and within about five minutes, I had a PSL in my possession. The only thing missing was the actual crushing of the candies, and I planned to remedy that ASAP.
I found a seat at my gate with enough room around it for all my paraphernalia, and after a few sips of coffee, I was more than ready to tackle the quests after level 50. It was time to make some stripes, make some wrappers, and make the long-awaited transition to level 51. Hallelujah. Amen.
Unfortunately, there was just one tiny little problem: I couldn’t seem to find my phone.
And as I mentally retraced my steps, I realized that the last time I had my phone in my hands, I was walking in the restroom. Ten minutes ago.
Needless to say, this memory neither comforted nor encouraged me.
As quickly as I could, I gathered up my purse, my coffee, and my big ole tote bag, and I ran back to the restroom. I looked on the floor, on the countertop next to the sink, in the open stalls, but that phone was nowhere to be found.
Oh, y’all. I was just sick about it. Because I don’t know if you know this or not, but if you lose your phone in the Atlanta airport, odds are that it is Gone Forever.
I may have also been having a crisis of conscience about a few gossip-y text messages that were most definitely not written as unto the Lord.
A very sweet restroom attendant told me that I should probably go to lost and found on the first floor, but I was worried that if I tried to get to another part of the terminal, I might miss my flight. So for about thirty seconds, I just stood there in the restroom, wondering what in the world to do, wondering how in the world I could have done something so careless, wondering why in the world I had not PUT MY PHONE BACK IN MY PURSE INSTEAD OF ON A SHELF IN THE RESTROOM.
Somehow, in the midst of all my panic, my brain realized that there was some kind of announcement coming out of the speaker above my head, so I tuned in. What I heard turned out to be the nine most favorite words of my day: “Shopie Hudson, please report to the Delta courtesy desk.” And then again: “Shopie Hudson, please report to the Delta courtesy desk.”
Neveryoumind that he didn’t pronounce my name correctly. I’ll answer to “Shopie” all the livelong day if there’s a possibility that someone may have found my phone. I’ll answer to “Gertrude,” for that matter. “Horace.” TAKE YOUR PICK.
So. After I checked at my gate to make sure that my plane was not about to leave, I asked where I could find the Delta courtesy desk. I then proceeded to run in that direction LIKE MY HAIR WAS ON FIRE. Fortunately I didn’t have to run very far, and as I turned the corner, I saw the face of the sweetest girl – maybe 17 or 18 years old – standing in front of me.
“Shopie!” she said, with the most beautiful Spanish accent. “You lost your phone!”
I couldn’t figure out how in the world she knew the phone belonged to me, but then she held out my phone and turned it around to show me. She’d opened my Facebook app, seen my name – and then she had me paged.
Suffice it to say that I’ve never been happier that I don’t use the passcode option.
My new forever friend and I struggled to communicate a little bit since I’m sort of dependent on English and she’s sort of dependent on Spanish, but I did manage to find out that she lives in Barcelona, Spain. She was traveling with three other members of her family, and I must have thanked all of them 19 or 45 times over the course of about four minutes. At one point I tried to give the girl some money as a reward – I was so grateful and didn’t know what else to do – but she wouldn’t take it. So we said our good-byes and I hugged her neck and I was about to walk away when I remembered that I had five or six copies of my book in my tote bag.
And y’all, I don’t know what came over me, but I dug down in my bag, pulled out a book, and handed it to her.
“Here!” I said. “I wrote a book. I’d like for you to have one. As a thank you. Since you found my phone.”
Because SURE. OF COURSE. I mean, you know what’s all the rage with teenagers in Barcelona these days? SOUTHERN NON-FICTION.
Oh, I can BRING IT with the awkward, can’t I?
So there you have it. I lost my phone. Someone found my phone. Someone returned my phone. And I “rewarded” her with a book that’s written in a language that she more than likely has no interest in reading.
MAKING DREAMS COME TRUE, I AM.
I have to say, though, that I’ve learned some good lessons as a result of the Great iPhone Scare of 2013. I’ve been watching my phone a little more closely, holding it a little more tightly, updating my apps a little more frequently. I’m very thankful that we’re together again.
As a matter of fact, I think I’ll crush some candies right now. Just to celebrate, you understand.
It seems like the right thing to do.