You Can Run But You Can’t Hide

by John Delach

Bad boys, bad boys,

what you gonna do,

what you gonna do

when they come for you?


The realization that I had a problem struck me almost two and a half hours into our gathering at Foley’s NY, a sports bar on 33rd Street opposite the Empire State Building.


Thirteen of us had gathered for our second spring luncheon to celebrate being part of a group of (mostly) guys who tailgate together before every New York Football Giants home game. We call ourselves, “Maramen Tailgaters,” and our name comes from the time when the Mara family owned 100% of the team. In that era, sports writers commonly referred to Giants players as “Maramen;”  hence our name.


For whatever reason, in the middle of having a good time, I reached into my pockets only to realize my IPhone was missing. “Damn.” I reached for my rain jacket only to find nothing but empty pockets. “Damn, damn, damn, I left my phone on the train.”


Within seconds of announcing my developing dilemma, Drew, my oldest grandson (17) asked, “Grandpa, do you know your Apple ID and password?”


In fact I did. The gal who set me up at the Apple Store when I bought my first device gave me a simple combination for my ID and password. Drew handed over a phone and asked me to enter both into the “Find My Phone” app. As if by wizardry it opened to reveal my phone was moving along Broadway toward Twenty-Six Street, about eight blocks from our location. My son swung into action and messaged my phone: “Lost my phone. Do you have it? Please call (his mobile number). Thank you.”


By then the phone had moved so Michael texted: “Checked it and see that the phone is at 24th and 7th. If you return it to Foley’s on 33rd I will buy you a beer.”


My son-in-law, Tom, pinged the phone at 2:27. This is a command that you can use if you know your phone’s location but can’t find it. It sets off an annoying beep every 15-seconds. Thinking this through, we decided to cancel this as the finder might it so annoying to just throw the phone away.


Drew sent follow-up messages at 2:32 and 2:49 so we learned that it had come to rest at Broadway and Twenty-Eighth Street. About an hour later it still hadn’t moved so Tom and Drew decided to go to that location. I yelled to them as they left, “Please stay safe and don’t do anything foolish.”


The words were hardly out of my mouth when a feeling of dread came over me and I thought to myself, this is a mistake. I later learned that Tom sent out this message when they reached the location, “We are on your block. Are you there? We are at 28 & Broadway walking to find you. Please call (his number) as we are trying to find you.”


No response, just as well as far as I was concerned. I was greatly relieved when they returned. Back in Foley’s, Drew noted that the phone was on the move again. Then it stopped and Drew reported that the map showed it was at Madison Square Garden. Then it died. Drew is obviously a smart teenager, but having grown up in Fairfield, CT, he knows squat about Manhattan.


“That’s great,” I exclaimed! Drew looked at me like I had two heads. “Drew, Madison Square Garden sits right on top of Penn Station. This means there is a chance whoever has the phone will turn it in to the LIRR’s Lost and Found.”


On my way home I went to L&F only to see that it was closed on weekends…and so it goes.


I rode home cut-off and phone free. Tuesday was the earliest I could attempt to retrieve my phone. Sure, I needed a mobile phone but I am not yet so addicted that not having one crippled me. What did bother me was the thought of re-programing all the stuff we park on our mobile devices to a new one. My daughter, Beth, assured me that Apple has most of it in the cloud that I could retrieve the same way we located my phone. I chose to doubt that but I know nothing.


On Tuesday, I rode the 10:11 out of Port Washington to retrieve my phone. The L&F office was its usual busy place but the clerks show patience and empathy that calms frantic riders. As I waited, I came across a chap who lost his designer sunglasses, a business man who left a Manila folder with important papers and two others looking for phones.


I explained that mine was a white IPhone 5C in a black Otterbox Case. The clerk produced the plastic bin dedicated to IPhones and began extracting them one by one for my inspection. I stopped him when I noticed a phone up against the side of the bin. A white 5C in a black Otterbox Case. “I think that’s it, I exclaimed”


Of course, it was dead. He put it in a charger but said, “This will take time.”


“Fair enough, I’ll be back in a half-hour.”  Tuesday was a perfect spring day, mid-60s, so I enjoyed my walk. When I returned, he held up the phone. He had opened it to the “go-to” page. Staring at me was a photo of Max, our Golden Retriever. “That’s my dog.” I exclaimed.


When I gave him my code to open the phone: Game set and match!


Of course, I was thrilled, but yet, I am left to wonder about the finder’s motives. Was this person a good Samaritan, a railroad employee on a lunch break or did our surveillance send the warning: You can run but you can’t hide.