It comes straight from the pen of Iain Fleming and offers intrigue, mystery, exotic locations – and one man on a mission he pursues with single-minded intensity.
For the uninitiated, the Newslink service is provided by Wirefast. Basically it is the series of pipes, tubes and wires (aye – you’re right. I’m not very techie), which lets press agencies, freelances, photographers and public sector information offices send their material directly to the UK’s main media outlets, including all the major newspapers.
The big fella recently enjoyed a trip to Prague with Mrs Fleming – a trip he won by entering a Smooth Radio competition (Mmmmmm. Nice!). While he was pootling round the Czech capital taking in the sights, he was offered an expensive mobile phone for sale by a taxi driver.
Iain could tell it was hooky – and after looking it over briefly, could also tell it had belonged to someone from the UK. Having experienced the sheer teeth-grinding inconvenience of losing a phone himself, he resolved to try reuniting the handset with its rightful owner.
He was pretty sure that, if he could have 10 minutes with the handset, he’d probably be able to track down the owner reunite him or her with the phone, which included a lot of snap shots of a child that he could tell someone would be gutted at losing.
While the phone was working on a pay as you go SIM care in Prague, Iain established that both the original SIM and the handset had been blocked and would be unusabe in the UK. He takes up the story:
The taxi driver tried to flog it to me for about £100 and I told him it had little value as it was blocked in the UK, so there was no point in trying to sell it to a Brit.
I gave him €30 which was all I had in my wallet in a non-UK currency, although I suspect if I had offered him less he would probably have taken it.
In the few minutes I looked at it in the back of the cab – using the battery from my own Blackberry – as the original had run down by this time, I recognized there was an email address on it and also hundreds of names in the directory and also lots of pictures, some of them of a young child.
I thought it would not be too difficult to return it either to the owner or to O2 who might pass on the SIM card, and took the chance.
This was because I have had a phone stolen and know the grief it caused. I knew there was a chance of losing the €30 but decided it was worth the risk
Now, I don’t think there are many people around these days who would shell out thirty Euros from their own pocket on the off chance of reuniting a phone with its owner. So all credit to the big guy. And I’m delighted to say his sleuthing worked out.
Iain managed to wangle an email address out of the phone and from there tracked down the owner, a London-based Portuguese furniture designer who runs a bespoke company called De La Espada.
In another selfless move, during his next trip to London (and while he was lugging round a pile of luggage), Iain still made the time to stop off at the De La Espada workshop to hand deliver the phone. Good work fella.
Turns out Luis the owner had absentmindedly left the handset at a bank ATM during a trip to Prague. And though he returenda short while later, it was gone.
Grateful Luis reimbursed Iain for the expenses he’d racked up – including the 30 Euros and a taxi ride across London – a small price to pay for a reaffirmation in human nature and a reminder that some people really are still capable of doing the decent thing.
Iain generally glows with pride when talking about the impressive delivery success of the Newslink service. But there’s nothing he’s seen with the firm that comes even close to this special delivery.
As O2 say in their ads – See what you can do.