mardi 25 juillet 2017


I had arrived in the United States from Qatar on the 16th July and my destination was the American Indian Reservations in the Plains States. I flew to Miami, as I consider this to be my American Base, so that I can gather my balance and move on to the Midwest.
The flight on the 17th was unremarkable. I had a very pleasant stay at the Centurion Club at Concourse D, including a head and neck massage by Vicky who is good at what she does.  I had been upgraded on the flight from Miami to Dallas and after a very short stay at the Admirals Club; I boarded the regional airlines flight, upgraded on that one as well, with only about 9 first class seats. I was busy reading and writing and planning my upcoming trips and the short flight glided by smoothly. On arrival at Omaha Airport, a very small airport with no international or long distance flights (New York, Dallas, Houston, Charlotte, Minneapolis, Phoenix, Denver. so this is an outlying station connecting to the hubs).
I had no special identifications on the iPhone 7 plus except two flags: Australia, Breizh (Brittany) and the face of Emir of Qatar, to show my solidarity with Qatar in the current crisis.
I tried not to let the panic take over when I realized that I had left the telephone in the men’s toilette near the exist from the American Airlines arrival area. Alas, within five minutes, the phone had vanished. I went to the information desk, lost and found and custodian’s office and the airport police. No one had turned in an iPhone.

My iPhone had been a gift to me from one of the Indian tribes, so that I can be available to them, regardless of where I was in the world and it had been a good tool for me, to travel around the world and be in touch with my Tribal colleagues.
The sim card in it was from T-Mobile, as a part of family plan of my Brother In Law and he quickly called the T mobile and cancelled the sim card. Using the Find my phone app, we reported it as lost and left a message to contact if it were found. But when you opened the app, iPhone appeared as OFFLINE.
Brandy, my friend at AVIS was rather more philosophical. It takes a little time for lost things to find their way to Lost and Found and also most people do not know where to return the lost items. Everybody especially the employees of AVIS rent a car were being more than helpful.
But I was left with a sense of guilt, why did I leave the telephone in the Bathroom? Why didn’t I put the phone in a safe place if I were using it in the bathroom? I was using whatsapp to tell a friend in Iran that I had arrived
Just arrived in Omaha 14 48
I received her reply 1456
I left with somewhat of a heavy heart, wanted to drive the 150 km to the Indian reservation, feeling bad that I had lost the phone the tribe had loaned to me.
Every one was comforting, my colleague and her husband did some tracking and IT manager of the tribe wrote to say, comfortingly, that telephones are lost constantly, and he would replace it for me.
Once I was back with the Indians, my mood began to change. The chaos and inevitability and the risk which are commonplace among the Indians of North America, was soothing, as I fit into the cosmos and worldview and the fact that the next ten days of my stay in the USA, I would be surrounded by them, not by descendants of recent arrivals to this land they call the Turtle Island.
Every day I would call the Lost and Found at the airport and they would say: strange, normally we get one or two iPhones per day but for the last few days we have not received any. Police refused to take a report as I had lost the phone and not robbed of it.
In the meantime T mobile had offered to send me a new sim card with the same telephone number to an address in this isolated village. My brother had to pay a nominal fee for the UPS services. T mobile response was swift and within 30 hours of contacting them, I had a new sim card with the same old number.
I had lost the telephone around 3 pm on Monday, within 48 hours I had the replacement sim card mailed to me, so that I got back my number, despite it having to be used on another telephone but at least there was a method for anyone to get in touch with me.
On Thursday, around noon, a message had been left on my number (in the replaced telephone), It was from the American Airlines and they said, they have found my phone and that could I please call a particular number to confirm. It was late in the evening when I saw the message so on Friday I called them and sure enough I could identify my phone, two flags and a face.

Someone recognized Sheikh Tamim of Qatar or someone associated that face with me, or how did the phone end up in the lost and found section of the American Airlines at the airport?
I often fly in and out of that airport, about once a month, so there are people who work there who see me twice a month, but there are thousands of people wandering through the airport. I am very friendly to the people at the airport: AVIS rent a car people, the agents who check me in at the counter or at the gate and very often I have a little conversation with them, many of them showing interest in my far away destination. It is possible that someone from the Airline, soon after its arrival, found the phone and then looked at the passenger list, and matched my name and looking up my profile could find my telephone number. In any case, somebody had to put some work into that, and I am grateful for him or her.
Throughout the drive to the airport, I was thinking: why did this happen to me? I tried to think in the worldview of the American Indians, they would say, you had done something that is why this happened. What would that Something be? That I had behaved in an arrogant or not so humble fashion during this past trip through the Orient and the Levant. I had to agree; I had become too engrossed in the comforts of flying Qatar Airways that I might have forgotten certain niceties that I normally exchange with fellow travellers. I had to ask forgiveness for that, believe it or not on the Thursday, before I received the confirmatory message that they had found my phone, I had discussed with some good friends about humility and expressed my gratitude for their friendship.
Everything is connected, say the Indians. A lovely South Korean woman was my FA on the Doha to New York portion, and when I arrived at the Indian reservation, a gaggle of nursing students from South Korea were there to listen to the interpretation of Indian culture.
I had apologized for my lack of humility, soon after that my phone was returned.
The lady who called me, addressed me by my first name, and said your phone has been found. I had not lodged a complaint with the American Airlines and they had done some groundwork to connect that phone to my name on the passenger list.
Every thing is related, say the Indians, and I do believe in that.
Despite the national hysteria of the politics and health care in the USA at the moment, I felt very grateful for the people of USA, their civic responsibility and also the generousness of their spirit.
I am grateful to them.
(below is a typical sunset seen at this Indian Reservation at this time of the Year)