The cop, the call girl, and my new iPhone 4
It’s not everyday that you’re gifted an Iphone from a high priced hooker, especially one you’ve never met. But that, in essence, is exactly what happened to me. I’ve retold this story so often I’ve decided it bears repeating in the blogosphere; not just because it’s pretty damned amusing but also because I’m tired of telling it in person!
A few months back I went bike riding in the wee hours of the morning (4 a.m. to be exact) with my friend, Lisa (the aforementioned cop). A good half hour into our ride we’d just polished off the roughly 6 mile ascent of Benedict Canyon and and had just made our way onto Mullholland Drive. It was there that I spotted what appeared to be a purse lying in the middle of the road. I turned my bike around and sure enough, it’s a purse. Lisa and I inspect its contents and find a credit card filled wallet with a Nevada drivers license and a $20 bill stuffed inside. There was also a full set of keys, and last but not least an iPhone4. My first thought was, “Lady, whoever you are, this is your lucky day. Not only has your purse been found by two religiously observant Jews, but one of them also happens to be a cop!”
Lisa and I finish off the ride at Peets Coffee shop (a tradition). We immediately call the numbers listed on the backs of the credit cards and report that we’ve found their customer’s belongings. We then, based on the driver’s license name and picture, find the woman on Facebook – a slam dunk! We message her not to worry – we’ve got her stuff and better yet, it’s being held in safety by an officer of the Los Angeles Police Department. We leave our contact info and then we wait….and wait…and wait.
One week later, nothing. I send out a few more messages to her on Facebook and call back the credit card companies. They too are at a loss for why their client has not gotten back to them (via email and snail mail). In the meantime Lisa’s run a (legal) search on the woman’s license in Nevada. Turns out she no longer lives at that address. Yet another dead end.
Ok., I figure, let’s do this another way. We’ll bring the iPhone into an AT&T store and ask them to track it back to their client based on the SIM card. Simple, right? Not so much. They tell us that they’re not allowed to do that and that we’ll need to bring the phone to the Apple store and have them use the serial number to track her down. Ok, then…we shlep the phone over to the Apple store where we’re promptly told that they’re not allowed to do that either and, you guessed it, suggest we contact AT&T directly. Sheesh, what’s a guy gotta do to return a phone around here?
At this point I have no choice, I need the phone’s serial number which means I’ll have to reset it (hoping the woman’s got everything backed up). Now armed with the sim card number AND the serial number I contact AT&T’s customer support line. When I tell the customer service agent the story (in brief) he tells me he’ll have to contact his supervisor. “Why?” I ask. “Because,” he answers sheepishly, “no one’s ever returned an iPhone4 before and I have no idea what to do.”
A minute later a very thankful supervisor gets on the phone, apologizes for his need to get involved and then reiterates his subordinate’s statement. Armed with the pin and serial, he begins his search in earnest. I can hear the clacking of the keyboard over the phone. Then I hear, “hmmm, that’s odd.”
“What is?” I ask.
“She doesn’t appear to exist.”
The supervisor explains that it could be that she bought the phone in another region and that he’ll need to expand his search radius to other parts of the country but it’ll take some time. It took three hours. He rang me up and said, “Searched everywhere. Whoever she is, she’s no longer in our system. Congratulations, the phone’s yours.”
Well I may be an honest Joe, but I’m not an idiot. It’s a friggin’ iPhone4 man, for free. Needless to say I was pretty excited by the prospect. I got the supervisor’s name and badge number (in case the Apple people gave me the stink eye when I brought the phone in to register it under my name). And I tried one last time to contact the woman on Facebook. Ready for this? Her page was gone! Whatever, I figure, I tried. I bring the phone into the Apple store and they don’t bat an eye when I tell ‘em the story and they’re more than happy to re-register the phone under my name. One small problem. It won’t start up. The tech looks at it askance and tries all his secret genius bar tricks; nothing. Finally he tilts the phone under the light and spots something. He shares his “aha” moment with me by explaining that you can see by the red/blueish hue that it’s sustained some serious damage (“Like a car rolling over it?” I think ruefully). Oh well, I tried. I let out a sigh, smiled stiffly and got ready to leave. At which point genius bar guy asks me perhaps one of the most beautiful questions I’ve ever heard in my life:
“You know you have 8 months left on your warranty—How’d you like a new iPhone?”
Yeah – that was my reaction too.
Dude disappears for a minute and comes back out with a brand spanking new 32g Iphone 4. I sign on the digital dotted line and I’m now the officially registered owner. Not willing to leave well enough alone I ask him, “what just happened?” To which he replied that “what happened” happens all the time—specifically with call girls and drug dealers. Apparently they’re the type of “vocations” that when they feel their cover is blown they toss everything and start fresh. The guy told me that the second we typed the words “police officer” into her Facebook page, she began to close up shop. He further said that at least once a month someone turns in a laptop or iphone under similar circumstances.
Well of course I go home armed with this new information and immediately google the woman’s name but now add any number of other sultry words to the search parameter. Bingo. There she is under “girls who like to party” and “Hot girls of LV.” You get the drift. Believe it or not, even after everything I’ve been through I try to contact her AND the guy who took the photographs (via the website). Neither ever answered back. No surprise.
And that my friends is how I am now the proud owner of brand spanking new iPhone 4, not to mention a drink-winning story at any bar for as long as I live.
Thanks for listening,