Cross-Country Phone Retrieval

It was late one Saturday evening and my fiancee and I just returned to my place to chill out and relax, maybe watch some videos. We had taken a cab home to my place as we had a number of things to carry. As it had been a long day for me, which included our going to a bridal studio in the sweltering tropical heat. I welcomed the chance to take a shower.

Feeling refreshed from my shower, I came out to find my fiancee distraughtly looking for her iPhone. She had apparently used my phone to call her but remembering that the phone was on silent mode could not make out any vibrations. I deftly took my iPhone from her and activated the Find My iPhone app. A service that I activated on her phone the moment it became free.

Within a minute the phone was tracked to a location that we had not been the whole day. Immediately we knew that it was stuck in a cab. I quickly got all the gear I needed and we went to the car downstairs to chase after the iPhone in a cab. Speeding past many other vehicles, we gave chase, updating my the whereabouts of my fiancee’s phone every so often. I locked the phone and started up the alert sound that would go off even if the iPhone was in silent mode. The alert message I sent was to contact me ASAP.

We gave chase down what I considered to be. The northwest corridor of the nation. Singapore has a few major roads which link the city area to the outskirts and we were speeding down in efforts to retrieve the invaluable object. As we drove along, my fiancee was a bag of mixed emotions, and I was trying to control mine, to paraphrase a wartime saying, keeping calm and carrying on. I was just hoping that the cab wouldn’t get onto an expressway. With the greater distance and speed that can be covered, it would be near impossible to track it quickly enough to get the iPhone before someone turns it off or the battery dies, leaving us in the dark.

After driving approximately 15km down the stretch of road, my fear came true. The cab had gone onto an expressway.I tried to catch up to its location about 6-7 km away. But when it reached the approximate location the were no more updates to its location. I exited the expressway looking for a spot to park and attempt a re-triangulation of the wayward phone, venting my frustrations at the inept telco service, while hoping that no one has turn the phone off.

Sending yet another alert message to contact me, we also tried calling the cab company, however, it was the time of night when calling the cab companies is as futile as resisting the Borg. 10 minutes later, the signal was picked up again and we were off.

Because of the inability of the service to accurate pinpoint the location (Yes telco service prover I’m looking at you), we carried on westwards towards the most extreme end of the nation. A this point, I had travelled over halfway across the country.

With traffic in the way and another delay in pinpointing the iPhone’s location, we had reached the destination only to find that the cab has gone northwards. Disregarding any speed limits I had gone ahead, thanking my childhood island-wide treasure hunting games for the ability to read maps effectively and the familiarity it gave me to pretty much anywhere in the country. By the time we caught up to the triangulation zone, we deduced that the cab was in traffic junction and of the two cabs there one was from the cab company we took earlier.

Giving chase to the vehicle, I checked the tracking system again to ensure we got the right cab. Though there was a point where the service halted again, I decided to keep this cab in my sight as it was the only one lead that we had. Also, this particular cab company did not have a tremendously huge fleet so it was reasonable to expect that that was the only cab in the general vicinity.

We followed suit, noting down the exact license plate number for any references we might have in bringing a lost item case to the cab company. I sent another message to the iPhone, bring a greater sense of urgency to request for a call back.

Pulling up next to it, we recognized the driver and I started to sound the horn and high beamed him from the rear. No response. I thought back to some of the comments the driver made during our trip and thought that perhaps he wasn’t the brightest bulb around. Trailing behind him on the expressway, we were glad that we thought we had gotten our man. I was initially worried that we would not be able to track the cab down, let alone if someone picked up the phone and decided to take it home.

However, the cab driver did not seem fazed by the attention that my car had been giving him and drove on. His passengers, a couple, however, realized that they were being followed from the northwestern part of the country they had boarded, to the mid west town they were heading to. We started to frantically sign to them that there was a phone in the cab. And we thank God that we could see them looking around on the floor of the vehicle for the errant communications device. To aid them I sounded the alert again. And while at a traffic junction, a Caucasian gentlemen exited the vehicle and approached mine. He asked if the phone in the cab was ours and we said yes. They were alighting around the corner and said that we should just follow.

We followed them around the corner into a private apartment block where, pulling up behind them I cautiously exited the vehicle and approached the cab to retrieve the iPhone. The cab driver seemed puzzled that we were following him all the while. I was puzzled by his ignoring a ringing phone that did not belong to him that was in his cab. I pinned it down to him probably attempting to be dishonest and attempt to hock it off to a used phone dealer. Thankfully, being the not-so-technologically-inclined, he probably had no idea how to even off the phone.

I just took the phone and left, thanking the Caucasian couple for helping us, and remarking that the Find My IPhone app was a a godsend. I once again got into the car and drove halfway across the country back phone while my fiancee thanked me for my efforts.

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