This actually isn’t the first time I’ve lost my camera (see post from 4/8/2016, “The Little Mitzvah”).
I lost it today while hanging around the Los Angeles airport waiting for the first flight of my trip home to Columbus, Ohio. I’m pretty sure I lost it while sitting at gate 72A of the United terminal, chatting on the phone with my daughter for 11 minutes. After I hung up I left gate 72 A, where there were free seats, and headed to my gate, 73A, where there weren’t, and made another phone call standing up, this one about 17 minutes long. Then I went to the rest room.
It was upon exiting the rest room that I realized I didn’t have my camera on me. It wasn’t back in the rest room. I returned to where I’d been sitting at gate 72A, which seat was now occupied by a nice older guy who replied, sadly, that he hadn’t seen my camera.
But I was sure I lost my camera between the 11-minute call at that seat at gate 72A and the 17-minute call at gate 73A.
I asked the gate attendants at both 72A and 73A if anyone had turned in a camera at either gate, but no one had. However the gate attendants were so kind and concerned, they even left their posts to collaborate and they looked around, made calls, and one called the airport police, who speedily sent over an officer. The officer, a middle-aged African American man, had me walk back with him to the lost and found so he could check. By then my flight was boarding and I was nervous about leaving my gate, but he told me not to worry, that it would only take a minute to look, that I’d be back in time.
He didn’t find my camera in the lost and found, but he tried to encourage me, telling me that it still might turn up, maybe later, and he took down my address and phone number and assured me that if my camera was turned in it would be sent to me. He told me that if it turned up in the next few minutes before the flight left he’d board the plane and bring it to me.
I wish I would have gotten his name and the names of the gate attendants who also dropped what they were doing to help me, but I was too upset and focusing too hard on trying not to show how upset I was. Still, in the eye abides the heart, and judging from the solicitous concern shown by those around me, I think my eye must have been giving away my heart, which felt a little broken.
But I’m going to write a letter to the Los Airport - however one manages that - and ask if the people who tried to help me find my camera today can be located and thanked for me.
If anyone ever says that Los Angeles International airport, one of the biggest, busiest, most crowded airports on the planet is an impersonal, uncaring place I will surely beg to differ.
To be continued…