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As Long as We Remember...

January 16, 2013

Tracking My Missing iPad Part 2

Earl 'Rocky' Mackintosh

[Editor’s Note: In yesterday column, Mr. Mackintosh detailed how he lost his iPad and the beginning of his travails to recover it.]


It was another call to Vivian at the central taxi cab dispatching office and her disappointing response of no luck that made it clear: We needed to take this matter into our own hands!


The first thought was for me to get in a cab and head to the site with Nancy feeding me the updated location of the iPad from our command center. I imagined a daring car chase and then a footrace down the back alleys of south Chicago … ending in a successful retrieval after a heated exchange of words, fists and maybe weapons … just like in the movies!


That thought was quickly dashed as I caught hold of my senses, realizing that I am neither Spiderman, nor one of those super-sleuth characters that garner high TV and movie ratings. Such an escapade could actually be dangerous! Chicago does hold the reputation of having one of the highest crime and murder rates in the USA!


So … do we call the police? Hmmm? No, this idea may be more ridiculous than playing Spiderman. Think about it: a city of 2.7 million people covered by 12,200 officers within a 237 square mile area. Making a request through layers and layers of bureaucracy to find my missing iPad? This could take days or weeks and besides, my battery would be dead in about six hours.


Several more minutes had passed as the refreshing feature had been clicked religiously during our brainstorming session. A clear pattern had emerged. It appeared that our cab driver, or whomever was now in possession of the iPad, was getting in and out of the taxi cab, as the green dots were literally showing up within one block in all directions from the corner of S Jefferson and W Grenshaw!


Calling All Cars …


Watching the screen allowed us to realize that the answer to our retrieval plan was right before our eyes!


I zoomed-in on that now familiar intersection, switched to a satellite view and added layers displaying street and business names. Lo and behold, the most recent dot was sitting right in the parking lot of Winner’s Edge Marathon gas station. With nearly two dozen pins now on the screen, my iPad had had more of a taste of Chicago than I that morning. It made its way into some of the city’s “finer” dining establishments: Manny’s Coffee Shop & Deli (Home of Chicago’s Best Corned Beef, mind you!), Atino’s Pizza & Deli #2 (Home of the $4.99 Jumbo Slice!) and it then topped things off at the rear delivery dock at Binny’s Beverage Depot!


As Nancy looked on, she asked, “Can you find the telephone number for that gas station?”


Well, sure! I did a quick search on Google for Winner’s Edge to get the number, and Nancy volunteered to make the call.


“Hell-o, my name is Nancy and I am calling to make a somewhat unusual request,” she said. “I am trying to track down my husband’s iPad. Would you mind telling me if there is a green and beige colored taxi cab parked in front of your office?”


Without hesitation the manager at the station quickly got sucked into the intrigue when she answered with an enthusiastic "Yes.”


“Does the identification number on the side of the cab contain a combination of two 1′s, a 4 and a 7?”


“Yes,” she said as she recited the four-digit number.


“Is there a driver in the cab?”


“Yes’” was again the manager’s response.


“Would you mind going out and telling the driver that my husband’s iPad is in his vehicle?” asked Nancy.


“No problem,” she said. “I’m actually on a cordless phone, so I’m walking out to the cab right now and you can talk directly to him.”


A moment later, Nancy hears a cautious “Hell-o” on the other end of the line.


Without saying how we had located him, Nancy, now in full character of Sherlock Holmes, said, “You dropped my husband and me at the Wyndham Hotel about an hour ago. Unfortunately he left his iPad on the dashboard of your cab. Would mind returning it to us, please?”


Clearly startled by this curious encounter, the cab driver quickly stated that there is no iPad in his vehicle.


With a quick and firm response, Nancy said, “I’m sorry, sir, but we have been tracking the device for the last 30 minutes from our computer here at the hotel, and we know where you have been during that time. I think if you look more carefully, you will see it.”


A Subtle Threat Wins the Day!


There was a short pause and no response from the driver, she continued. “After seeing where it has been, we will have to consider the iPad stolen property … and I am inclined to report this incident to your superiors, as well as the Chicago police … maybe you can see it now?”


“Oh, yes, here it is,” was the response from our red-handed friend.


“I can get it back to you in about 15 minutes. Will that be all right?” he asked.


The concierge led the three of us in a high-five, as we savored the results of Nancy’s subtle threat.


As a precaution, I called my other new friend Vivian at the central dispatching office to inform her that we had located that elusive cab, and the driver confirmed that he was in possession of the iPad. I gave her the cab ID number, and she told us that this driver had gone “off-duty” a few minutes after he had delivered us to the Wyndham; thereby the reason she was not able to locate his cab from my earlier calls.


At about 11:30 that Thursday morning our cab driver pulled up in front of our hotel. Acting as if it was all a simple act of lost and found, he handed my iPad to me with a faint smile. I said “Thank you” as I handed him a small tip of appreciation for returning the other half of my brain. Yes, I tipped the guy … innocent until proven guilty, right?


All in a few hours’ work at the Chicago branch of Scotland Yard manned by the sleuths of MacRo, Ltd. and its incredible compatriots, the Case of the Missing iPad was now closed! After our exciting weekend in Chicago-Land, it was back to closing out the year with the Land and Commercial Real Estate deals we had on the books.


I must say, we did have fun on that little adventure!


Rocky Mackintosh is the owner of a land and commercial real estate firm based in Frederick. He is also the editor of the MacRo Report Blog.

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