On my car are three stickers and a license plate cover claiming I am a fan of the city of Boston. Up until now, that was based on the shallow joy I took in having a child in college there. All that changed the night of Dec. 20.
In the best tradition of our family absent-mindedness, my son made his way to the Boston airport on the Boston subway, dragging two suitcases (full of dirty clothes) and his backpack. As he was checking in his luggage, he suddenly realized he had left his backpack behind on the Blue Line. Serious frustration had set in.
He still had his cell phone, his wallet and flight ticket, so why was he in such a state, you ask? Well, gee. As a creature of the electronic age, the backpack was jammed full with his laptop computer, his Wii and, oh yeah, his iPod.
When he called in clear distress, I figured his flight was cancelled. Instead, he sheepishly admitted his problem and sent me to my computer to see if the famed Boston Metropolitan Transit Authority had a Lost and Found. I was skeptical to the 10th power. All that ran through my mind was, “Well, someone in Boston is going to have a very merry Christmas.”
The first pleasant surprise was that the MTA did, indeed, provide a phone number for a Lost and Found department, specifically for the Blue Line. Well, fine, but it was Dec. 20 and a Saturday evening. I had absolutely no faith that I would get anything other than a recorded “Sorry, push 1 to get another meaningless menu or call Monday morning after 10 a.m.”
“Roy, here,” a voice barked.
“Ummm, is this the Lost & Found?” I queried timidly.
“Yeah, I do that too,” Roy said cheerfully. “I do it all.”
And so I laid our sad story and our fate at Roy’s feet, waiting for a “Yeah, well, good luck with that. It happens a lot.”
Instead, Roy was adorable, understanding, friendly, funny and politely asked me to hold on while he checked. I waited anxiously but he was back in a trice with the astonishing news that “Yep, we’ve got a black backpack with a laptop in it coming in. Call me in 15 minutes and we’ll see if it’s his.”
Did I dare get my hopes up? It was a long 15 minutes with lots of “That would just be too simple. Nothing in life is that simple,” thoughts
racing through my head.
You’ve guessed the outcome by now. Under the heading of Lovely Christmas Miracles, it was, in fact, my son’s backpack, with everything still inside. It seems a subway employee found it and sent it along. I am still shaking my head, thanking God and our lucky stars and will for some time to come. My son may haul around a king’s ransom in electronic gear, but I promise you we could not afford to replace it any time soon, had it found a new home.
My child now has the official title of “Luckiest Young Man on the Face of the Earth.” The backpack sat in a locker somewhere in Boston for three weeks, and was retrieved by his roommate this week. It’s a wonder that my child survived his time at home without all his 21st century accoutrements, but somehow he did, with only the occasional whimper.
Did I mention we think Boston and its subway employees are the very finest things on the planet? I sent Roy a thank you note. We hope he and everyone who makes the Blue Line run had as wonderful a holiday as we did.
Jean Gillette is the Community News editor for The Coast News Group. As a journalist, she primarily worked in San Clemente and Los Angeles. She has been with the Coast News for 20 years and lives in La Costa.