How Google Maps (and Latitude) Helped him Find the Lost Mobile! [Story]

[Pi reader, Kashif is an avid user of Google maps (he infact prompted us about the “Mumbai vs. Bombay mistake on Google Maps” story). He shares an interesting story on how Google Map service helped him find his lost mobile.]

I hired a cab in Mahim in Mumbai to go to Bandra. In the cab ride of about 15 minutes, I just used my phone (a Nokia E72) once and then kept it on the seat beside me. I had Google maps running in the background.

I got off at Bandra leaving my phone behind. Within minutes of realizing that I have left my mobile, I tried calling desperately, but no one answered. Luckily, I had met a friend who i was sharing location on Latitude, and asked him to check my location. We could then see exactly where the phone was, so we hired a auto and started chasing it.
However, to our bad luck the signal stopped in the middle of a slum, and when we reached there, we were blank. There were houses stacked to each other and upon enquiries we found that within a radius of 100m there were at least 2000 cabbies and at least 100 who fit the description of my cabbie. And all this while my phone is ringing.

But since it was a slum, we were sure of couple of things. The vehicle couldn’t be parked there as it was no space, so the cabbie had retrieved the phone and taken it to his place (when I had hired the cabbie, it became apparent thru his demeanor that I was his last passenger and he was going home after that).

So my friend and I searched for couple of hours, but were futile. We finally met up with some cabbies, who suggested that the next morning all the local cabbies assemble at a hotel nearby before starting out. So if I remember the cabbie and his cab (i didn’t have the number) I can catch him there.

The next day, I went to the hotel at the appointed time, but no luck. There were cabbies, but the one i had hired was not there. And my phone was still ringing and the location was the same!

The entire day passed and the two days after that, I went and searched and could not find the cabbie. The phone rang for two days and location was also updated, but after that the phone stopped ringing and the location was also not updated.

So after four days of losing my phone i finally went looking for it again. This time I thought hard – the last location was a  slum. Before that the location on the first day was near a lake a Bandra. So I thought the cabbie parked near the lake and and then had come to his home in the slum. So retraced the steps which the cabbie possibly could’ve taken and reached the lake.

There I saw the cabbie (I could only now remember him from his torn seat) and on a hunch asked him whether he had ferried me the other day. He said in affirmative and then I inquired about the phone and again he said yes. But he said it was at his house with his son. so i said ‘let’s go’!

He then called his son, who came to a place near the Bandra station and gave me my phone after four days of searching! The conatcts and pictures were deleted and there were messages of his son on the phone, so i figured he had no intention of returning it. His son later called to tell me that his friends might have inadvertently deleted something on the phone while checking, and he apologized for that.

On a hindsight, I got my phone and in a big way due to Google Maps.The fact that the phone wasn’t switched off by the cabbie (I still don’t know why and didn’t ask him) also helped. And in the end, the only bargain was that I lost my pictures (had a backup of my contacts).

[Before you advice/critic on one’s usage of the phone (a logical suggestion would be to install WaveSecure), do take a step back and read it from a consumer’s point of view. This is how a consumer uses his phone and technology came to rescue at an apt time.]

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