Lost and Found : My Uber (Singapore) Story

"I lost my iPhone." 

I never thought the day would come that I had to say those 4 words and boy, does it suck to say it repeatedly to almost everyone I came across with. From Paul and my family, to my colleagues, to my clients, to the EZ Link Customer Service Guy, to the Uber driver and even to my telco service provider. Every single time I have to recount what happened and it was indeed heartbreaking.

uber singapore
So my Tuesday began quite well. I woke up at the usual time to prepare Paul's packed lunch and to get ready for work. Not wanting to be late, I remembered that Uber Singapore was running at 50% off promotion all week so I thought to myself, "Why not?!" The driver, Mr Tai Kwang Yap was a very nice, pleasant man who drove a pretty Honda Vezel which was a two-door sports car-like vehicle. Normally, I would sit at the back but since I was the only passenger and it was such a hassle to ask the driver to pull the front seat down just so I can sit behind, I just sat beside him.

The ride was very pleasant. Mr Tai was definitely a very nice driver and I've gotten to know more about his background. Apparently, he's a retiree and a former employee of HP. Clearly, he's driving to stay productive and simply because he just loves to do so. He was very patient when it took me a while to alight as I had a lot of bags with me. As soon as I got to the office, I did my usual routine of taking out my chargers and cables before keeping my bag in my drawer. It was then that I realized that my phone was no where to be found. Still, I remained calmed and asked my colleague N to try ringing my phone. It rang so that was a good sign.

uber singapore
The good thing about having an iPhone is having iCloud and the app Find my iPhone which will allow you to track where you phone is at the moment. Thankfully, I've turned both my location service and iCloud on making it easy for it to be tacked. The tracker showed that my phone is moving along CTE heading towards Ang Mo Kio which is at the Northern part of Singapore. WHAT?! I figured that it must still be inside Mr Tai's car since it was moving quite fast. I kept on pressing the "Play a Sound" button as I was certain that my phone was on audible mode. That sound was quite loud so I'm sure Mr Tai or the next passenger would have heard it. Then I left a message with D's number just in case Mr Tai or the kind passenger to call so I can have my phone back. Sadly, no call, no message, nothing.

I continued to track my phone where I saw it moving to Ang Mo Kio to Bradell (what on earth?!) and later it stopped at Serangoon Central. I was trying my darnest to stay calm but while I may have seemed calm outside, my insides were indeed a mess! I was trying so hard to look for Uber's customer service number but sadly they don't have any. I just have to keep on accessing Uber's Lost Item Page and hoping that this function works. Finally there was an option to put in an alternative phone number and they will connect me to the driver. I tried doing that with D's number and luckily, I was immediately connected to Mr. Tai. Oh what a relief!

I spoke to Mr Tai and told him that I lost my phone in his car. He was driving then and he told me that he'll call me back right away. It was also then that I saw that whoever has my phone have turned it off as it went offline right at Serangoon Central. At that moment, I knew I won't be seeing my phone anymore.

So what were my next steps?
1) I called EZ Link to have my card blocked and luckily they were so efficient and helpful about it.
2) I told my office admin that I've also lost my access card and I was luckily given a replacement card.
3) Lastly, I had to call Singtel (my telco provider) and tell them the sad news too. Once again, very helpful people and they were able to block my sim and told me that I can go and pick up my new sim anytime. Since my plan was up for re-contract in October, I will have to pay an early recontract fee if I purchase a new phone now but given my situation, the person whom I spoke to in Singtel told me that he will ask his manager to consider waiving it for me. Eventually they did so thank you Singtel.

Okay, going back to Uber. Mr Tai called me back as promised but sadly he said my phone was no where to be found. He searched all over his car and no phone. I thanked him still for the effort and went on with my busy day at work despite being extremely distracted and upset over the whole situation.

So Tuesday night, I got my new phone and after speaking to Paul and my family, I'm starting to accept the fact that things have to happen for a reason. Others were quick to blame the driver but I know that Mr Tai was innocent and my gut feeling is telling me that the passenger who rode after me may be the possible suspect.

uber singapore
Fast forward to the next day, I was on my way to a client meeting when D messaged me: "Frannnn! They found your phone!!" I was so shocked as I wasn't really expecting for this to happen anymore. Apparently, Mr Tai called D and told her that he was able to recover my phone.

So what happened was Mr Tai got hold of the passenger who rode after me and asked him if by any chance he was able to pick up a phone when he was in the car. The guy denied and so Mr Tai told him that since I have filed a complaint of losing my phone in his car, he has no choice but to do a police report just to formalize everything. Given that the guy was the next passenger after me, Mr Tai told him that he will also give the police his name and where he was dropped off. I think that scared the h*ll out of the guy and his conscience that he called Mr Tai that evening and made his confession. So Mr Tai arranged to meet him to pick my phone up and this guy even had the guts to share his "sad story" which is pretty much his reason why he had to steal my phone. Seriously?!

So, all's well that ends well. I got my phone and all the cards back and it seems like the thief didn't bother to open and to tinker with my phone as the "Lost iPhone" message was still there.

I honestly am having mixed emotions about this.

First of all, I am really thankful for Mr Tai for going out of his way to recover my phone. He's probably the best Uber driver that I've ever encountered. Secondly, I am still feeling really annoyed with the thief. No matter how bad your life may be, stealing, cheating and lying will never ever solve your problems. Also, it sucks that because of his stupid action, someone else's day has been ruined too. Paul actually wants me to file a police report against him but I know that by doing so I'll have to include Mr Tai and Uber too. Dear readers, what do you think? 

Thanks to Mr Tai, my faith in humanity has been restored.

Here are some things that I've learned from this experience:
1) Believe that there are good people around you so do not be afraid or ashamed to ask for help. I really appreciate having my colleagues N and D who really cared so much that they didn't stopped helping in hopes that we can easily recover my phone.
2) Efficiency truly makes the world a better place.
3) Keep Calm. This is really hard to do but it won't help if you start moping around or crying buckets. Take a deep breath and start mapping out your next steps. (Oh, it pays to have a bit of OCD streak too haha)
4) By all means, back up your phones and maximise on app such as "Find your iPhone" and believe in the iCloud. It was designed to make your life easier. Believe in it.
5) Be careful. This was one regret that I have. Had I been more careful then this whole drama wouldn't have existed.

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