Phone stolen? Don't try this trick - though it does work

Waking up on a busy day and then losing your phone in the middle of it all can be stressful, but thanks to Apple's "Find my iPhone" app, you can easily find your lost phone even if it was stolen.

Apple watches are displayed following an Apple event in San Francisco, California March 9, 2015.  (photo credit: REUTERS)
Apple watches are displayed following an Apple event in San Francisco, California March 9, 2015.
(photo credit: REUTERS)

I woke up on Wednesday morning after a night of strange dreams - the doors didn't open, I couldn't run, I couldn't call anyone and all sorts of things happened.

I even remember reading a particularly nasty letter addressed to me personally. I woke up in severe discomfort, but I quickly renounced it because it was my day off.

I took my time with my coffee and shower and then left my house at around 1:30 to arrive on time for my nail appointment with Sharon Nails on a small street in Shapira, Tel Aviv. 

I headed to the new central bus station in southern Tel Aviv on my electric bike. I don't have any sense of direction, so after going around in circles, I arrived. I called and asked for the entrance code at their main door.

"You're an hour early," Sharon Nails informed me. I protested but after a short argument it turned out that she was right. I was wrong, I was scheduled for three. There wasn't enough time for me to go back home and for a moment, I considered canceling my appointment. But then I looked at my nails and shuddered in disgust and decided to stay.

 A customers holds the new green colour Apple iPhone 13 pro shortly after it went on sale inside the Apple Store on 5th Avenue in Manhattan in New York City, New York, US, March 18, 2022. (credit: REUTERS/MIKE SEGAR) A customers holds the new green colour Apple iPhone 13 pro shortly after it went on sale inside the Apple Store on 5th Avenue in Manhattan in New York City, New York, US, March 18, 2022. (credit: REUTERS/MIKE SEGAR)

The idea was to sit somewhere and pass the time. I found the ultimate garden that was really close by - shaded and empty. Not a minute passed and the feeling of satisfaction dissipated when I realized I ran out of cigarette rolling papers.

I shook off the negativity and went to the nearest kiosk that wasn't closed and bought water and rolling papers. I returned to the garden and sat down on a bench, opened a book, rolled a cigarette and put on my headphones. And then I discovered - I couldn't find my phone.

The phone is gone

I searched everywhere. On the ground, in the garden, I even went back to the kiosk. I can't count how many strangers from the street currently have my phone number after I asked them to call it for me. Then I remembered - I have an Apple watch in my bag, and it has the app Find My iPhone. 

It was now three and Sharon went out with her dog in between customers and she saw me. "Where are you going? Aren't you coming to me soon?" I turned and told her what had happened. I then called the police from her phone. The dispatcher told me that a patrol car would get to me as soon as possible. We then went into her studio to wait for the policemen and relax a bit in between the gel polish layers.

While my phone was going in circles on Mesilat Yesharim street, just a few blocks from us, we were drinking iced coffee and I was thinking about what would happen if I would have to upgrade to a new phone even though I am still paying off this one. I tried to remain positive.

After she finished my nails, I called the police again, and this time we tried to activate my contacts. It didn't work. We called again and the dispatcher told me that I had to go down to the station and file indictments if I wanted an officer. 

A woman tries a new Apple Watch (credit: REUTERS/ISSEI KATO)A woman tries a new Apple Watch (credit: REUTERS/ISSEI KATO)

It was already 6 p.m., I was exhausted, hungry, thirsty and feeling a little sick because I couldn't pay for my nails, because there was no Bit (the Israeli virtual payment app) on my watch. I promised to pay her tomorrow, and then I remembered that I had an appointment with a friend in Florentine.

What do I have to lose? Things couldn't get worse if I drink more coffee, right? So I went. We sat down, had fun and of course, every Israeli in the cafe also had a suggestion, such as those who said, "File a complaint, there's nothing more you can do."

One comment stood out, "Let's go get it! The central station is really close." 

"What will we do there exactly?" I asked. She explained to me slowly, "We'll take the phone and go back for a coffee. Come on."

I looked at her, slim, a light blond. I laughed and said, "And what will we do if we get to an apartment building that in each apartment, there's a family of five? What will we do? We'll knock on all the doors and ask, 'sorry ma'am, maybe your dad stole my phone from my bag?' There's no way I'm doing that. I'm not stupid."

And the search begins

I ended up giving in, so four of my friends and I went on the mission. We found ourselves eventually walking through the dark streets towards Congress street.

"Do you know the group of people sitting there?" a large Georgian asked as he was closing up a shop. I looked at him and said, "Maybe you'll come join us? Just as a backup." He joined us as we made our way to the entrance of a makeshift bar.

The owner of the place, who has never in his life seen five angry girls walk into his illegal place in the heart of the central station, immediately went to find out what was going on. I showed him my watch and told him, "My phone is here. Maybe I lost it and someone found it and is sitting here now."

I described my phone and asked him for permission to search for it. "Turn off the music for just one second, we'll look for it for five minutes." He nodded, turned off the music and explained to all the guys sitting there what was going to happen.

It was dead quiet, everyone stopped playing and started to stare at us. They got interested in how it would end.

I went on to the app and turned it on, causing the phone to made a loud and continuous alarm. I then heard it. I followed the sound until I found myself standing in front of the only sofa in the place where a thin man was sitting, smoking a hookah.

The man didn't move a muscle, he just smoked and looked at me calmly, as if he was going to deny anything. Of course, the search of the sofa only gave us crumbs and shekels. It was clear to everyone that the alarm was coming from his pants pockets, and yet, he still didn't move.

The phone is located in a pocket

I motioned to his pocket and said with a smile, "Sir, my phone is ringing in your pocket. Please give it to me." He didn't answer. So I smiled wider. "I understand that you've had a bad day at work," I continued. "But my phone is here and I won't leave without it. Trust me, I don't want to be here.

"I don't want to get into a mess or involve the police. All I want is to have my phone back. So please, my phone." All eyes were fixated on us. Luckily, this man moved his right hand slowly, put it in his pocket, took out the phone and gave it to me.

"Thank you," I said. "Have a good evening." I shook the owner of the place's hand and left. The owner made sure that we didn't take any pictures of the place before we left just in case. We then all left and went back to have coffee. 

I really did try to stay optimistic throughout the day, but the chance of us getting there and actually finding the phone were so low that I didn't dare imagine it. It's truly unbelievable how it all ended.

Although the author of the story did find her phone eventually and is safe, it is best to have the police with you when locating a phone that is at a completely different location than the one you are at. Stay vigilant, be careful, and be safe!