I was getting back from Mumbai after a successful book launch of my second anthology on corruption and how to curb it – Delete Log off and Shutdown Corruption! The flight was in the wee hours of the morning, I was terribly sleep-deprived after an exciting and fun after-party the previous night. When I sat in the taxi I was groggy, however, the driver was a nice man and we chatted while he drove me to the airport. Well, it was more like he chatted and I responded in monosyllables… Hmm, Aha, ok, oh etc.
Once we arrived at the airport I picked up my travel trolley, handbag, jacket and got off. Bid him goodbye and started walking towards the entrance. I would have just taken 4-5 steps when I looked for my phone. Flight ticket was in my email and I needed to show it to get inside. That’s when I realized I had left the phone in the back seat of the cab. Oh no!
The first instinct was to look if the cab driver was still around… no, he wasn’t. My mind started racing… What do I do now? My cousin had booked the cab, so she had the phone number, how would I contact the driver now? Neither do I remember her number, how will I retrieve my phone? What will I do to get inside the airport? I don’t even have a ticket. What if I miss the flight? Who can help in this situation? Blah blah blah…
After 2-3 mins of sheer madness in my mind, I started talking to myself more positively… What I needed was a phone to contact the driver. I reached out to the first person I spotted, shared my situation and asked for his phone. He said he had an international number, so he couldn’t give it. I reached out to the next person and she happily gave me her phone. My first reflex was to call my husband… his phone was switched off!
I had to call my cousin to inform her so that she can, in turn, inform the driver. But I didn’t remember her number! So I tried reaching out to her through Facebook chatting but in vain. She had slept off after seeing me off. Now what? Suddenly, the lady who gave me her phone asked me to call my own number. Oh yeah, how did I forget that! Silly me… I started calling my number… once, twice, thrice… The phone kept ringing, no one picked up. I remembered my phone was in ringer mode, hence, sooner or later the driver will realize; I thought to myself.
In the meantime, I started feeling severe stomach pain (stress has various ways of showing up!)… My mind was fighting thoughts of conflicting nature, one side I was feeling unwell another side I had lost my phone. Which one should I attend to first? Finally, I decided to attend to the stomach pain first. Thanking the lady I went towards the restroom… Once I felt a little better I again started thinking about how to retrieve my phone at the same time not to miss my flight. As I was looking for options, I noticed Starbucks in the vicinity. I knew their WIFI could help me contact my cousin as well as locate my phone. I went in and tried logging in (through laptop)… that’s when another realization struck. I needed a mobile number in which the OTP could be sent.
Again I asked for help from fellow travellers… one of them generously gave his number and I got the OTP… I quickly logged in to call my cousin through Facebook, while simultaneously calling my number using his phone. After continuously calling for 3-4 times, someone disconnected the call from the other side twice… After a couple of more times, the driver picked up the call. Bingo! I had reached out to him finally! Told him my situation and requested him to come back to return the phone. He said, it would take him at least 30 mins to come back, as he had already gone far. I checked my watch, I had exactly 1 hour for my flight to leave. I requested him to come anyway…
My next task was to inform the airline about my situation and pick up the ticket copy. I picked up the PNR from my email and straight went to the counter. Asked them for a printout and asked for the cut off time for check-in and boarding. They said the flight was 30 mins late. That relieved me giving more time to retrieve the phone, still comfortably catching the flight. In the meantime, the ticket counter guy called his colleagues at the check-in and got my boarding pass generated on a special request, so that the check-in process gets easier and faster. It also helped as I didn’t have check-in luggage.
After completing this process, I came back to the waiting zone where my cab was supposed to meet me. Again borrowed someone’s phone and called the driver to check his whereabouts. To my pleasant surprise he was already there (he reached within a span of 15 mins). I picked up the phone and thanked him profoundly. A BIG sigh of relief ran inside me as I proceeded towards the check-in counter. Even after all the drama and delays I still had enough time to grab breakfast before I boarded the flight. As they say, ALL’S WELL THAT ENDS WELL!
Some of the learnings from this incident:
- Whether you are in CAUSE or EFFECT decides the outcome. After the first couple of mins of confusion in the head, I changed my state to cause mode which helped me focus on the right things.
- In a crisis, situation panic can ruin it all. So stop panicking to think clearly.
- Keep a positive outlook. Not for a single nanosecond did I think I lost the phone. I knew I will get it back, that allowed me to focus on how to get it back.
- Trust unknown people. I trusted the cab driver and knew he won’t steal it. That helped me ask him in the right tone of voice which helped eventually.
- It’s ok to seek help from strangers. I reached out to at least 6 people for help. People are ready to help, provided you seek.
- Allowing suggestions from others. If you allow others to suggest alternative ways to help you it will prove to be beneficial. I took the lady’s suggestion to call my number which eventually alerted the driver.
- Keeping a calm mind. It helped me focus on the issues and solve the entire confusion quickly.
- Addressing issues one at a time. This helped me when I was in two minds to make a certain decision and put them in hierarchical order.
- Arriving early at the airport, helped me retrieve the phone on time.
- Travelling light. It helped me move around quickly to seek help and get a quick check-in.
- Finally, trusting the universe. When you trust the universe unconditionally, you will never be at loss. The flight being delayed was definitely a blessing and I would like to believe it was the universe which helped me.
All these happened within 40 mins span of time. As you can see, how many conversations I had with my mind in this time period. What mattered was what I told my mind and how it responded favourably.
At the end of the day, I was pleased with the way I conducted myself. How I dealt with the problem without getting panicked or creating a scene. A big realization was;