On my last night in Miami while attending the LCT Leadership Summit, I had the misfortune of forgetting my phone in the back of a cab. I patted my front pocket and realized my trusty iPhone wasn’t there, not more than 20 feet after leaving the cab. By the time I turned around to run back it was too late and I could only watch as the back bumper disappeared and sped out of sight around the corner and down a busy street off Ocean Drive. There was no chance of catching him.
When I walked into the bar where I was to meet some friends, I was told by the bar tender what number for the cab company it was most likely to be. Apparently there is a single major cab company that handles most of the trips around this area he told me with confidence. Since I hailed the cab straight from my hotel and hadn’t noticed the company or number of the cab when I exited, this number was my best bet.
So I called and tried to tell the dispatcher that I had just left my phone in the back of a cab. I told them where I had gotten picked up, where I had been dropped off, a brief description of the cab driver, and the time this occurred, which was still within 10 minutes from when I got out.
The dispatchers unfortunately could do very little except tell me that they would try to put out a broadcast over the radio to their drivers, and that I should go back to the hotel and see if they could check the security tapes and see if they could spot the cab number on the car when I got in.
Did that — and the concerned hotel security staff informed me that though they were able to find the film of me getting in the cab, they weren’t able to make out the cab number.
Within an hour my phone number started going straight to voicemail, indicating that it had been turned off by someone with the only conclusion being dubious intent.
Aside from the bummer that this is…having to contact the phone company to report it lost/stolen, and try to prevent my information from being exploited, it made me wonder what rideshare apps would offer in contrast.
So I checked Uber, which I do use on occasion, and saw that immediately concluding each trip/transaction, a receipt is automatically emailed to me with the driver information listed on there. If this was an Uber car, or a scheduled chauffeur transportation car, I would probably have my phone back in my hands.
Taking full responsibility for my own mistake, this incident does however, make me more inclined to use transportation that easily keeps electronic records of trips and drivers, as opposed to hailed taxis.
My colleague, Jim Luff, will write about lost & found practices for limousine companies in the July issue of LCT Magazine.
— Tim Crowley, LCT senior editor
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