In April, Shelby Bonnie’s worst fear came true: he lost his iPad.
After a red-eye flight from San Francisco to the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, Bonnie noticed his iPad was missing from his carry-on bag. Bonnie, an investment banker with Allen and Company, thought he’d never see the device again.
As Bonnie decided to continue his journey to the Bahamas for vacation, his iPad began an adventure of its own. Due to a tracking feature on all Apple devices called Find My iPhone, Bonnie was able to see the location of his device change from the last time he’d checked.
Upon discovering the iPad was missing, Shelby used Find My iPhone to track it down and found its location to be in Memphis at Elvis Presley’s Heartbreak Hotel at Graceland. He then sent a message through Find My iPhone telling whoever had his device in possession to call his cellphone for a reward. He got no response.
Over the course of the days that followed, Bonnie began detailing the whereabouts of his missing iPad to his followers on Facebook. The status updates came complete with screen shots from Find My iPhone showing his device in downtown Memphis and later at a golf course. His followers’ interest in the whereabouts of his iPad grew.
On his way back home, he almost came within 100 feet of his iPad when its location was tracked on an airplane headed for the same airport he was in. Unfortunately, he did not find the iPad there but documented the adventure on his Facebook.
“At some point it became more about the storytelling and less about the iPad,” said Bonnie, a co-founder of the technology news and reviews site CNET. “Everybody loves a good story. It’s more entertaining than getting the iPad back.”
Shelby Bonnie’s situation of misplacing a possession is something anyone can relate to. In our lifetime, we will spend a total of 153 days or the equivalent of 3,680 hours looking for misplaced items. Phones, keys and paperwork top the list for commonly misplaced items.
Noticing that the device had not moved from its most recent location, a residential neighborhood in Miami Lakes, Bonnie paid to have 5 balloons delivered to the address listed with a message that said, “Thinking of You.” The idea worked, and the iPad was returned the following morning to the Fort Lauderdale airport. Bonnie was notified by someone from the lost and found.
In a Facebook post, Bonnie wrote, “As described by lost and found when they called a second ago, a fairly elderly woman came in a few minutes ago and said she had gotten the balloons and thought it would be a good idea to return the iPad to the airport. She said to thank me for the balloons, but she didn’t really want to call.”