A few weeks back, The Bride and I had to fly from Seattle to San Francisco and then on to Boston. The experience at SEA-TAC was the worst I’ve encountered in a long time. Ridiculous lines. Nasty T.S.A. flunkies. Delayed planes. Nobody seemed to care, and I was in a pretty foul mood by the time we had made it from Seattle to SFO.
The airline never told us that we’d need to change planes in San Francisco, but we made our way from one gate to the other only to find yet another delayed flight. We plugged in our phones to charge. Purchased some overpriced snacks from an airport vendor so we would not have to buy the overpriced snacks on board the plane. And then we waited. And waited. And then waited some more.
Finally, we got on board our plane, which had the same flight number as the plane we left more than an hour ago but it was a different plane. We settled in to our seats and got ready for the cross-country flight. Then The Bride reached in to her “tech bag” and her face dropped. “I left the iPod on the other plane.”
Before we even lifted off, we alerted the flight attendant that we had left the iPod on the other plane, but he said that there was no way to contact the crew on the other plane. They were literally just a few gates away, but he claimed that there was no way to get in touch with them. He suggested we go online and report the iPod as lost. My wife used her phone and filled out the online form, but we were sure it was gone. It wasn’t just the issue of losing the device; it’s the fact that the iPod in question really belongs to my disabled daughter Julia at this point.
Julia may be twelve years old but developmentally she’s eighteen months old and her musical tastes are, in large part, those of a toddler. Plenty of good nursery rhymes, some Beatles tunes and music from the television show, “Jack’s Big Music Show.” I don’t know how, but The Bride has been able to load hours and hours of music on to the iPod in such a way that they flow just right to keep my daughter happy. It’s almost a full time job to make sure that the music is assembled and loaded in just the right way, but my wife always makes sure it is done.
For the better part of six hours, my wife beat herself up for forgetting the iPod. She’d simply forgotten and left it in the seat pocket but she might as well have thrown it full force in to a volcano to hear her talk. It wasn’t her hard work loading it that concerned her; it was the fact that our daughter’s unique collection of tunes was lost. There’s no way, we were sure, that we’d ever see the iPod again.
Someone is going to sit in that seat, reach in to the pocket and find that iPod. Maybe they’d look around but no way are they going to do anything but take it, I thought. Maybe the cleaning crew would find it first or a flight attendant but, I was sure, they’d simply think they hit the lottery and get down to the business of ditching Julia’s music and replacing it with their own.
Imagine my surprise when two days after our return, The Bride walked up to me and showed me the email letting her know that the iPod had been recovered and all we needed to do was pay the $13.75 for shipping to have it returned.
Julia is still rocking out to her tunes, The Bride is no longer beating herself up and I am forever grateful that seat 17A was occupied by a person who cared enough about someone they’d never met to do the right thing.