iPad: Lost and Found thanks to Craigslist

Steve Jobs while introducing the iPad in San F...
"I picked this up off a highway in Ohio..." (Image via Wikipedia)

I have never used Craigslist.com before, but after this weekend I might consider it.

Here’s the story…  My wife and I were leaving the hotel where one of our Ohio congregations has Church services when she sees something happen in the highway that runs in front of the hotel: a white SUV zooms by and something black seems to fly off of it, land on the ground and slide to a stop in the middle of the road.  It looked to be something like a personal planner or something, which made our hearts sink for the poor person who just lost it.

In the hopes that we could return it to its owner, we retrieved it from the highway only to find out that it was an iPad.  Thankfully it was in a rubbery sort of holder which was, in turn, in a padded black zipper bag, so it had been spared any damage from the fall.  However, it was locked with a password, and the only thing we could see on it was a slideshow of images, none of which seemed to contain any information that would identify the owner.  There was nothing in the bag, either.  I Googled for a while on my phone, looking for info about hacking passwords to see if there was a quick fix (maybe something like the “cheat codes” used to start cars without their keys), but there was nothing that would have been within my meager little radius of ability.  I left our phone number at the hotel on the off chance that the poor person might get home and think, “Maybe it was that ‘thunk” I heard outside as I passed that hotel,” but we figured that there wasn’t much else that could be done there.

The next day (Sunday) we tried our local Apple Store to see if they could track the owner down using the serial number or something of that sort, but they said they could not.  The Apple Store staff said that unless the owner had purchased a MobileMe account that they could use to locate the iPad (or “brick” it), he or she just might be out one iPad.  So, we resolved ourselves to calling the two Apple Stores in the town where it the hotel was to see if someone had come in sobbing and asking about how to find a lost iPad, while we looked around for more ideas.

And an idea came!  Someone said that Craigslist has “Lost and Found” listings and that we could try that.  It seemed a long shot, but my wife checked it out and, sure enough, there was a note there that seemed to fit the situation perfectly!  She contacted the poster who was able to confirm that it was, indeed, her iPad, even sending along a picture that matched one of those on the slide show.

As I type this, my wife is heading off to the post office to return this very happy iPad owner’s device to its home a few states away.  (It was a brand new one, too–only a few days after purchase!)  What a great ending.

So, color me impressed!  Not necessarily with the iPad (my previous comments still stand), but with Craigslist.  Just how many people use that site, anyway?

11 thoughts on “iPad: Lost and Found thanks to Craigslist

  1. Steve

    Well, I have to compliment you and your wife for your proactive altruism. Our country would be a lot better off, if more people practiced that!

  2. Thanks, Steve! Actually, my wife deserves the kudos. She really put the “active” in “proactive.” 🙂 Christ’s words about doing unto others as you would have them do unto you really have a home there in her character.

  3. Great story, Mr. Smith.

    Color me impressed with the iPad; I finally saw one in action, in the hands of the local brethren. So there. Nyahh. 😛 😉 😀

  4. Is it using the site, if I bought an item a coworker listed on Craigslist, but interacted directly with him via e-mail only because he’s a coworker?

  5. Teresa Fischer

    Hi Mr. Smith,
    I don’t have an Ipod, but was told this past weekend that the major orchestras are beginning to use them in place of sheet music. You have a foot switch to “turn” pages, you music never falls off the stand, and you no long need a separate stand light. Changes to a score in studios can be done from a central computer by composers, thereby quickly and easily changing each musician’s copy at one time.
    Coming from someone who is still transcribing music by hand, I am very impressed! 🙂

  6. This has already been done using Finale, a music software program that I own. I think the iPod allows the further step of allowing changes to be displayed immediately rather than printed out, unless some hardware I don’t know of has been used heretofore – and presumably it uses another music software package.

  7. Thankful you found a positive use for Craigslist. From what I’ve been hearing on the TV news, there’s plenty of other stuff there that Christians ought to avoid.

  8. I agree, Richard. Seems as though mankind can’t invent anything without thinking of how to use it for evil purposes as well as good. I should say that I do know someone who has gotten some great deals out there on very legitimate items. But in our society, it seems that one cannot design gates for the good without seeing the evil walk through them just as well.

  9. Leona D

    That is a FANTASTIC story! How amazing that you were able to find the owner (states away, even!) and return it. I used Craigslist to find the last two cars I purchased. It can be quite useful. It’d be near perfect if only they could keep all the spammers away from it. Alas, they flourish there, but at least it’s good for finding cars and returning iPads.

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