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Is This How To Handle A Lost Cell Phone?

Discussion in 'Articles' started by Kurt Halfyard, Nov 4, 2018.

By Kurt Halfyard on Nov 4, 2018 at 2:23 PM
  1. Kurt Halfyard

    Kurt Halfyard Moderator Author

    This article is intended for discussion on the minutiae of a situation that is bound to happen (often) to any regular Uber/Lyft Driver. While it happened in Toronto, Canada, it's a pretty universal experience in any market, and this particular instance has been elaborated in full detail to foster discussion.


    Last night I got a ping that took me to Milton (A small bedroom community just outside of Toronto) at ~1 am. This is not the best place to get dragged to on a Saturday Night, but the PAX was one of my regulars (I have picked her up from her house on 3 or 4 occasions in the past) so off we went.

    While plugging my car into the Tim Hortons free EV charger and and taking a bathroom break and enjoying a hot tea, I was surprised to get a ping in the neighborhood so quickly. Off I went to a cluster of low-rise apartments a few minutes away.

    A young woman, L-----, hops in my car, both ready and waiting at the front entrance with a spring in her step (this is good). Immediately, after confirming her name and destination, I see that I was mistaken, and she was actually quite drunk (less good). After asking if she is OK, or if she wants a bag, just in case highway driving might make her queasy, or the window open a crack, she assures me that she is not sick, just tired, and is going to take a nap as we drive all the way to Etobicoke (A Toronto Suburb two towns over from Milton) on the 401 freeway (35km away). She is out in 2 minutes, leaning on the window.

    She wakes up a few minutes before we arrive at her condo apartment, and gives me instructions on which entrance to drop her off. She appears to have sobered up a fair bit. She thanks me and walks into the front lobby.

    I usually do a quick scan of the back-seat, but this time I was making sure she didn't fall down or hurt herself, and in this case, I did not check until after she had made it into the building.

    I see she accidentally left her iPhone in the back seat of my vehicle.

    I grab the phone, throw on the 4-way flashers, and run to the front entrance in the hopes of catching her before she gets into the elevator. There is a group of ladies waiting for another Uber. I ask them if the building has a concierge. It does not. I ask them if they saw the girl that came in, or know her. They do not know her, or which apartment she lives in. I am out of options. But I do wait in my car at the entrance of the building, and hope she will discover she is absent her phone, and come down for a look.

    After 7-8 minutes and no sign of L-----, I get another ping, so off I go. After dropping the next PAX off (4km SHARED ride, no match, $4.92...) I call LYFT and ask them what to do about lost phone, as normally PAX would get notification of lost item ON THEIR PHONE via the APP.

    I ask if LYFT has an email address or LAND-line they can inform the young woman that she lost her device in my car, and I offer to 'open up' my contact information so that she can call/text me directly going forward.

    At 3am (actually 2am with daylight savings time change, but still far after my bed time), I get a call from, L-----. I am currently chilling with a beer in my living room reading my book while winding down my evening. She asks me if I can drive her phone back to Etobicoke, ~26km from my house.

    I tell her this is at least a 25 minute drive for me (each way...) and I am done for the night. Sorry. I tell her I will text her friend's phone with various options the following day.


    Her friend texts me back the next morning saying they are fine with Option #2. But could they drop it at a house near Woodbine? (This is a community just north of the Airport, and about 5 additional kilometers from the original Condo/Apartment Etobicoke drop off the previous night.)


    As I am driving to Woodbine, I get a call from L------ saying she doesn't have any cash, and do I take debit? (Seriously. As if, what, I'm retail? But I digress...)

    I tell her, that she can leave a $40 tip in the App, and I will happily do this for her if she does not know how to do so, if she will unlock her phone before I hand it back.

    She agrees.

    Now I am thinking: How will this play out? If she tries to grab the phone, or comes out with a few friends, what is the protocol here? If there is any funny business or conflict, I plan on asking her to give me her unlock-code through the car window, and she can change her unlock code afterwards. I'm not going to hand her her phone back and trust that she will honour our agreement, but I am also not driving to her at my convenience for 'nothing.' She was not able (for obvious reasons, not having her phone) to enter 'LOST ITEM' into the APP, because she left her phone, so there is not even a guarantee that LYFT will give me the $15 RETURN ITEM FEE.

    It all quickly becomes moot. As I drive up the house (not another Condo/Apartment in this case) near Woodbine. She comes out by herself. She unlocks her phone while it is in my hand.

    I go into the App and put in a 5* rating, a $40 tip, and an explanation in the comment sections that she is willing to pay $40 tip and the $15 found item fee. She agrees to this when I show her. I hit OK.

    I tell her the most important thing is that she got home safely on the previous night. I drive off, and carry on with my personal day of shopping, cooking, and generally doing things NOT related to ride-share, as per my regular Sunday. (Although I do log the 50+km of driving there and back in my ride-share mileage logbook) under return-item delivery. (This is for Canadian/Ontario tax purposes down the road).


    Now, when I was putting in the tip in the app, I did make the oversight of not keying in LOST ITEM in the LYFT app on her phone. I call LYFT customer service, and tell them that this was agreed to, and put into the APP, (And that they already had a record on file from the previous night). They quickly bonus me out the $15. I ask them to send me an email .

    $15 appears in my 'LYFT bonus dumping zone' in about 20 minutes. (No follow up email though...Alas, I like to keep good electronic records of all my customer service interactions.)

    So, no craziness, and perhaps a bit anti-climactic, I did receive CAN$55 additional compensation for my troubles. Pax was delivered comfortably and safely when she was intoxicated, and traveling solo (i.e. the main purpose of RIDE-SHARE late at night).

    Pax was also pro-actively communicated via LYFT Customer Service (via me calling them and explaining situation) that her phone was not LOST, but rather LEFT in my car. The item was then returned at the location of L-----'s choosing within 24 hours.

    What did I do WRONG?
    What did I do RIGHT?

    Comments welcome.
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2018
    MoreTips and Mista T like this.
Chemist. Father. Zardoz Fan.
In a former life, I was moonlighting as a Film Critic, writing about world-cinema and genre for various online media, including Rowthree.com and ScreenAnarchy (Formerly TwitchFilm). I still do a few international Film Festivals per year, and run a Poster/Design column as well as contributing interviews and reviews to various sites (TheShelf, InTheSeats, SpectacularOptical, ScreenAnarchy.)

Favorite Films (people always ask; here ordered by release date): The General (1926); M (1933); The Maltese Falcon (1941); Singing In The Rain (1952); High & Low (1963); Seconds (1966); 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968); F For Fake (1973); The Conversation (1975); Alien (1979); Blade Runner (1982); Big Trouble In Little China (1985); The 'Burbs (1989); Out Of Sight (1998); Eyes Wide Shut (1999); Catch Me If You Can (2002); Master & Commander (2003); There Will Be Blood (2007); The Counselor (2013); The Neon Demon (2016)

Currently, and for the last 20 years, I've been working as a materials chemist for Xerox, with my name on 26 US Patents for various consumables and technologies: Inks, toners, elastomers, printed electronics.

Drives Lyft part time.


Discussion in 'Articles' started by Kurt Halfyard, Nov 4, 2018.

    1. Thepeoplewearent


      If you honestly believe it was ONLY sixty seconds and that it is the only impact YOUR mistake had on the driver then you're just naive.

      Stop being selfish. You're not the center of the universe even for a second and no one decision stops where it is made.

      Frankly you should just be happy the driver got the phone back to you at all. That 15 dollars in return fee is really not worth it time-wise on even a weekly scale so there's no real incentive to even return the phone. Personally I've returned 2 and the second was only because they offered to pay me 30 upfront via Venmo. The rest get turned off at a mcdonalds or gas station and tossed out with the trash.
    2. ChicagoMike
      Nothing worse than finding a lost cell phone or wallet in your car. Most items I just throw out, F you if you're dumb enough to get out of my car without all your stuff (and F Uber for the condescending message they send you when you report a lost item telling you to "make sure the rider has all of their belongings before they exit the vehicle.") .but a phone and a wallet is different than a pair of shoes (yes, I've had a rider leave his shoes in my car, how the F do you get out of a car and not realize you don't have your shoes?)

      I think I've only charged the return fee once. I can't remember the scenario, but I do remember I charged it. Most of the time I don't, though. Three situations that stick out in my mind are...

      1. A young kid, out on a date with his girlfriend (probably a minor, I'm new to this board and wasn't aware picking up minors was a thing we shouldn't do, I'd appreciate any further elaboration on that), very polite, left his phone in my car, I wasn't too far away from him, took me 10 minutes out of my way to drop it back off to him, he gave me 10 bucks, and I thought that was fair.

      2. Group of college kids from Oklahoma visiting chicago over the summer, nice people, apparently prone to losing their stuff (one of them lost an Apple watch at a museum earlier in the day and was on the phone during the ride arranging to pick it up the next day), I drop them off at the Chicago river walk, pick someone up about a block away, they find the wallet and give it to me. I knew they flew here, this kid wouldn't have been able to get home without his ID, I was still in River North, so I went offline and contacted the rider to tell him I had his wallet. When I got it back to him, he opened his wallet to "give me something" for the trouble. I refused and didn't charge him for the return fee because they were all nice and polite.

      3. A group of paxholes get in my car. Every other word out of their mouths was "f**got" this or "ni***r" that. I told them to STFU or I'm ending the ride. They stopped, I took them where they were going. I got another trip request that took me an hour away from where they were. As soon as the new riders got in the car, they handed me the phone. And about 10 minutes later, I got a message from the previous rider asking me to return their phone. As soon as I dropped off the current rider, I drove to a gas station and threw the phone in the garbage.

      Bottom line for me, if you're a nice person, I'll return your shit for free. If I'm indifferent to you, I'll return it if it's important (cellphone, wallet), but if shoes are obviously not important to you, they're going in the garbage. And if you're a complete dick? I don't care if it's the deed to your 10 million dollar home, it's trash to me.
      iDriveuThrive likes this.
    3. uberpaxi
      Selfish? Im a driver, this has happened with my PAXs before, I wouldnt extort my rider out of 15$ over 60 seconds or even a few minutes of my time. I know your type, typical bottom feeder, never let a crisis go to waste. Youre probably the same type that finds a cat or dog then demands a reward even though the dog was in the owners yard. Karma is a b**ch which means you’ll stay a bottom feeder for life. Thankfully most drivers have a conscious unlike yourself.
    4. iDriveuThrive
      Ok I’m torn here. You say you called and spoke to her within a minute of dropping you off, right? You left your phone in the car, you carry a spare? I’m sure you’ve gotten requests while still enroute to drop off the pax you already have. Idk how your fares or your financial situation, persnally I don’t make enough to pay for living expenses or vehicle maintenance after refueling. I don’t know what I’m gonna do once brakes flatline and it’s tax time if I dont find a job ASAP. That’s another topic, I would pay 15$, 50$, even 100$ <- if that was their request. It’s cheaper than a new phone now days. Hopefully I’ll become more mindful of expensive PERSONAL belongings. Dropping off the out of kindness is great if you can afford it, i would drop it off at CPD. Gas is expensive and essential to come out of pocket for not your mistake. Your right about karma, however, karma is a B itch when you are. If you ask me the phone behind could very well be karma at work. Again do the right thing and hopefully they will too, if not leave it to karma as karma can do and get away with more.

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