October 17th, 2009
|12:06 am - Things We Lost at the Airport|
My flight is at 2:35, but SuperShuttle gets me to SFO closer to 1. I reach my gate and take a seat near an outlet so I can plug in my laptop.
Next to me is a seat empty but for a book. I wait for its owner to return.
Time passes, and the book remains in the seat. Finally, I become curious. The book is People of the Book, by Geraldine Brooks, a Pulitzer Prize-winning author according to the cover. I read the blurb, and it looks interesting. There is a leaf a little over half of the way through, marking the owner's place.
The Borders sticker is still on the back, implying the person just bought it.
On the inside of the front cover is a woman's name and number. This could be an artifact of a used book purchase, but the Borders sticker argues against that theory. I call the number; maybe the woman is in the airport and will come back. I reach a machine. I don't leave a message, as I am yet unsure what I am going to do.
Maybe it was abandoned on purpose. Hey, free book. But there is a leaf! A leaf! She did not even finish reading.
I Google the area code. The number hails from...St. Louis. Oh, balls.
The flight before mine was going to St. Louis. She totally forgot her book here.
I Google her name and St. Louis and hit upon what appears to be her Facebook page. The profile picture is of an elderly couple. I could send her a Facebook message, but I have her phone number anyway. If this is indeed her book and she did indeed forget it.
I want to confirm for sure, not wanting to take the book in case the owner came back after a very long bathroom break. But the woman at the counter, as I expect, is not allowed to tell me whether a particular passenger was on that flight.
I see a woman appear to examine the empty seat where the book lay and then turn around, and I don't remember exactly what the woman on Facebook looked like. Maybe that's her? I ask her if it's her book and it isn't. Okay, back to the original plan.
I call the number to leave a message, but this time the phone keeps ringing! Maybe the line is busy? But they weren't home just a few minutes before. They are on a plane!
I wait a few minutes and try again, and this time a man picks up. I ask him if this is the residence of The Woman. Yes, he is a man with her last name. I ask him if his wife is flying from San Francisco to St. Louis today. Yes, from California to St. Louis. I tell him I found a book with her name and number in it. She forgot it at the gate. Oh no, he says, she'll probably be looking all over the plane for it. I tell him I'd be happy to mail it. He asks if the address is in there, and it is not, so he gives it to me. He says it's very nice of me, and I tell him that I am a book lover as well, and if I lost a book, I would be freaking out. Besides, she hasn't even finished it yet.
I wonder what would have happened if someone else had found it.
Current Mood: full
Current Music: Björk - It's Oh So Quiet [in my head]
|Date:||October 17th, 2009 05:21 am (UTC)|| |
Cutest thing ever. :)
Yay for her being able to get her book back!That's a win on her part for putting her name and number in her book and you for finding it and taking the effort to follow up, rather than just giving it to the gate agent who would toss it in a pile of lost things.
Yeah, I thought that the sensible and proper thing to do would be to give it to the gate agent, but...yeah, I didn't trust the airport to actually send the book. And if they did, it would take them six to eight weeks or whatever.
|Date:||October 17th, 2009 05:58 am (UTC)|| |
This post made me smile. Thank you for that. :)
that is awesome. no really, it is. thank you, as a book lover i would have done the same.
We book lovers have to look out for each other.
I like that she was using a leaf as a bookmark.
|Date:||October 17th, 2009 11:55 am (UTC)|| |
Yay for you!
|Date:||October 17th, 2009 11:58 am (UTC)|| |
Honestly, I think I might have read it first and then called the number. :OP
Yay for returning lost books! I'm glad you were the one who found it.
That's such an awesome story. I wish more people would take the effort to do things like that. :)
You are a very good person.
I'm superemotional right now for several reasons, but maybe I'd be having this reaction anyway: *teary-eyed* I'm so glad you're you. Permanently-lost things are a (small, but earnest) tragedy.
Awww! I once left a book on a plane, three-quarters of the way through, and failed to find out what happened for five years because I had forgotten the author and title and it was before the internet. Eventually I got online and posted, "It was post-apocalyptic and it was about a boy and a unicorn and there were duels with swords and a griffin ate his girlfriend."
Instantly, about twelve people wrote, "Ariel
, by Steven Boyett!"
And I found a copy and read it and was satisfied. It's not exactly a good
novel, but it's memorably weird. The climactic action scene involves hang-gliding from the Empire State Building and also death by office chair... and I see while looking it up on Amazon that it has been reprinted with some rewrites, and hey! Sequel!
Ha! I like books with history. I constantly fear leaving a book on a plane.
|Date:||October 17th, 2009 10:16 pm (UTC)|| |
I probably would have left it there
Because I most likely wouldn't have a laptop at the airport, seeing as how I don't have a laptop. And so I would have been unlikely to google and find out where the woman lives and then make the connection that the prior flight leaving from that gate was heading in that very direction. Would I have called the number inside the book? Possibly. Probably....not. Would I have taken the book for myself? Again, probably not. But I'm not going to guarantee that. It is highly unlikely.
And if I was the man at the other end of the phone call, I would have thought you were some weird stalker.
Still a great story.
Re: I probably would have left it there
I don't have a laptop either, but luckily I had a company laptop for this trip. The ability to Google definitely helped, although I think I probably would have taken it anyway because of Occam's Razor: there was no good reason for that book to lie there for over an hour if the person was on my flight. And I would have liked to have the free book with a good story behind it if I never got a hold of the owner.
The man on the other end of the phone was a really good sport, thankfully.
Your investigative skills would make Veronica Mars proud.