on the road!

18Feb10
Welcome, friends, to the first ever remote edition of karen the librarian!  This event would not have been possible without the pestering support of my cousin, Andy:

The handsome bachelor you see here is part of a good crew of family that lives around Charlotte, North Carolina, that is currently and graciously allowing me to storm their lives and eat delicious local takeout at their dining room tables.  I spent the first half of the week in Raleigh, but now I’m in Fort Mill, South Carolina, visiting my sister.  She lives/works with my cousin Mike and his fabulous wife Liz.  I don’t get to see this gang too much, and it’s been a great cure for my cabin fever to enjoy new scenery, sunny skies, temperatures in the 40s, and a whole team of cool little dudes who don’t recognize this nerdy librarian as their rad cousin.

Since this is my first remote post ever, I feel a little strange uploading PDFs that are the fruit of my high school practicum toils.  Instead, I’ll tell you a little story that made my day:

After my first plane landed in Philadelphia, I wheeled my carry-on suitcase as fast as I could to the gate for my connecting flight, cursing the Nalgene bottle full of tea that I downed on the plane.  As soon as I spotted the magical letter/number combination that would be my gateway to Raleigh, I beelined for the ladies’ room and swung open the door to the first available stall.

Don’t worry- this seems like way too much information for me, too, but it’s kind of important to the story.  I think.  Just give me one more sentence to make my case:

There, sitting on that teeny little purse shelf in the stall, was an iPhone.

My immediate reaction was panic and heartbreak for the poor woman who lost her phone.  If she’s anything like me, the small device is a portal to my calendars, photos, email, and soul… the Ziggy to my Al.  I might be slightly nuts when it comes to my iPhone, but I was determined to find the owner.

Forgetting why I was there in the first place, I left the restroom and dialed the first number in the favorites.  It rang for a while, then someone picked up:

“Hey there, baby,” a deep male voice greeted me.

“Uh… yeah… hi…” I stammered, “I, uh, just found this phone in the ladies’ room at the Philadelphia airport.”

As it turns out, the adoring man at the other end of the proverbial line was the iPhone owner’s husband.  Like me, this woman was in Philadelphia on a connecting flight.  I told him to send me a text message with an address, and I’d drop it in the mail as soon as I could.

The nice gentleman was incredibly appreciative, telling me where the woman was headed, what she looked like, where they lived, and how much they would compensate me for my kindness.

“It’s really no problem, sir,” I said, “I only hope that someone would do the same for me.”

No, I wasn’t trying to sound like a martyr.  It’s just that, by that point… well, I was in a hurry.

Once I finally managed to get the kind man off the phone and resume my own business, I set about trying to find the owner.  I had her name, her description, some determination, and an hour to kill before my flight.

What happened in the next few minutes was pretty cool.  Since I have no shame, I stopped random women who fit the description and asked, “excuse me… are you Caroline?”  This sparked up a whole bunch of pleasant encounters that I would have otherwise missed.  Like Lisa, who gave me a frightened look when I asked her my question du jour.  As it turns out, she has a twin sister named Caroline, who passed away several years ago.  I apologized for the discomfort I undoubtedly caused, but she was very nice about it all.

Regardless of the wonderful people I was talking to, my guerilla detective skills were yielding disappointing results, and I was no closer to finding the Caroline who lost her phone.  So I stopped for a moment, dug deep within, and asked myself the most obvious and important question:

What would a librarian do?

Since I knew where she was flying to, I checked the flight schedule.  Sure enough, her gate was right across from mine, and the plane was slated to leave thirty minutes after my own.  I scanned the crowd for potential Carolines.  Then I saw one who might just fit the description.

Once more, I approached a complete stranger and asked if she was Caroline.  She said yes!  I explained myself, handed over the goods, and successfully reunited Caroline with her iPhone.

It was just about time to board my plane, and I was excited to finally reach my destination.  On top of that, though, I was really pleased to know that I was able to use my limited know-how to help out a stranger.  It was one of the many highlights of my little vacation, and I hope it was worthy for such a momentous occasion as my inaugural remote blog post.

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One Response to “on the road!”

  1. This is an amazing story. I only hope that if I ever lose my phone in an airport that someone like you will be there to save the day. You went far above and beyond what most people would do here. The world is a much better place because of people like you.


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