Mohammad’s got my mobile

By Peter Rosengard, June 18, 2009

In Canada visiting friends last half term, we had just taken off on a flight from Montreal to Toronto. “Can I have my phone back, Lily,” I asked my 13-year-old daughter.

“I haven’t got it, Dad.”
“But I gave it to you at the gate!”
“I put it on the table.”
“I didn’t see it.”
“That’s not my fault!”

My mobile has not only got 1,200 numbers in it, but losing it means business disaster.

Also my mother would like to hear from me again.

I called the flight attendant: “I have left my phone at the gate. Please can you ask the captain if he can find it?”

“Well he is a little busy right now, sir. Flying the plane.”
At Toronto, Lily asked: “Why don’t you text your phone Dad?” I borrowed a mobile from a friendly baggage handler: “$500 reward if you have found this phone. Call...”

I was fast asleep when the phone rang at 4.20am. “Hello!?” I croaked.
“You have lost your phone, “a Middle Eastern voice asked.
“Yes! Have you found it?”

“If you want to see your phone alive again: $500 cash.”
“You’ve got it! What’s your name?”
“Mohammad, who?
“Just Mohammad.”
“OK, Mohammad. Just don’t hurt my phone.”
I gave him my friend Saul’s office address in Toronto. “You go and give him the phone and he
will give you the $500. Okay?”
“I go there first thing.”

At 9.30am I got a call from Saul. “I’ve got Mohammad in reception. Do you want me to knock him down to $50?”
“Saul! We are men of honour. Just give him the $500. I’ll send you a cheque.”

My phone was Fed-Exed to my hotel by 5pm. Mohammad had even charged it for me.

At 8pm the phone rang.
“It’s Mohammad. Thank you. I work at the airport, cleaning. Of course I would have handed it in. But when I got your text message…the $500 reward… anyway, I just want you to know, I’m using it to pay a hospital bill for a relative.”

“Where? In Montreal?”

“No, in Gaza. He got hurt.”

I decided not to ask Mohammad how he’d got hurt, just in case he said: “The rocket he was carrying exploded in his hands.”
I like to help people, but now I might be paying the hospital bill for a Hamas terrorist!?

Three days later, when we got back to London I went straight to Carphone Warehouse and backed up all my numbers.

Last updated: 5:20pm, June 19 2009