Wednesday, December 14, 2011

What kind of person?

Many years ago I flew from Sacramento to Seattle. When I arrived, I realized I'd left my PDA (remember those?) at the counter in Sacramento. I called, and they said they had it, and would hold it until I returned to pick it up. Two weeks later I flew back and went to claim it. . .but it had disappeared. The agent admitted it had been there, even placed in their safe, so all they could figure is an employee must have stolen it.

They were gracious enough to buy me a brand-new one, which I appreciated.

A year or so later I flew home from Knoxville to San Jose. This was following an exhausting week working as CHIC staff, working 20 hour days non-stop for a week. I was beyond wiped out. And in that exhaustion, I left my PDA in the seat pocket on the airplane.

Realizing my mistake a few hours later, I called the airline lost-and-found, but nobody had turned it in. I tried for a couple weeks, but it was never turned in. Whoever found it just kept it.

Last June we flew from Denver to Seattle. Somewhere in the process of checking into DIA Clara set down her 2nd-favorite blanket (thankfully we had left the most-favorite blanket at home) and forgot to pick it up. Even before leaving DIA we talked to some agents and the lost-and-found people, but it was nowhere to be found. For a few weeks I called, but nobody ever turned it in. Seems whoever found it just kept it.

A few weeks ago we flew from Ontario to Seattle. Somewhere south of Sacramento Olivia realized she'd left her most favorite stuffed animal at the airport. There were tears and sobs and anguish. But I told her we'd do our best to track it down.In Sacramento we started the process, calling the airline and the airport, but nobody had turned it in yet.

Unfortunately, it's now been three weeks, and it never turned up. We've called the airline lost and found, we've called TSA lost-and-found, we've called the airport lost-and-found. And nobody has it. Whoever found it just kept it.

Which I admit I don't understand. Don't people turn in things when they find them? I always do, if I can. I teach my kids to turn in found items. Just last week we were at Trader Joes and found a necklace in the parking lot. I had Olivia turn it in to the manager. I thought that's what people did.

If you find something, do you turn it in? Did I miss the memo that said "finders-keepers' is the expected behavior for us all?

Or maybe it's something about airports that cause people to keep things they find, even though it may be the most precious possession of a child, even though a dad may be spending a lot of time calling around trying to see if it's shown up. I really don't know. I'm beginning to wonder why we even have lost-and-founds, since in my experience people don't actually turn in things they find (or, when they do, somebody else just steals said item).

What kind of people just keep things they find, knowing somebody else may be looking for it?

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