Walking in the park this crisp San Francisco morning, my dogs happened to stop and sniff a shiny object at the outer limits of my vision. Getting closer, I saw a Blackberry Curve, with no owner in sight.
The park was Corona Heights, the rockiest park with my favorite view of the city. Today's dog walk was unusual; there was a little gray dog that was actually faster than Malcolm—fast enough to run up from behind and jump over him. I'm not sure Malcolm had seen other dogs much faster or agile than him, other than the trio of Italian greyhounds who don't play much. They ran around each other in the lower field, and later atop a series of large stone points above the field, overlooking a vista from Market Street to the Bay. The owner, in a blue baseball cap, afforded his pup more freedom than usual, and looked on quietly as they played, recalling his dog with a whistle when necessary.
Before Malcolm could eat the phone, I picked it up. I pressed a key and it powered up. The last call was 20 minutes ago, so the owner could have easily left the park already. I had to take it with me. The last few numbers were 212, 415, 415 but I wasn't quite ready to dial all the numbers while walking through the park.
I saw several dog owners looking for something on the ground and asked all of them if they had lost phones. Turns out, they were just looking for dog crap.
Here's the creepy part. Walking home, I scanned the menu. Gmail! Sms! Call Logs! I was so curious about who this person was, it was honestly took all I could muster to not dive into and read all the messages. Would you have read the texts? Are you disgusted at my impulse? Well I didn't do anything snoopy, so you can stop judging me now, OKAY?
Instead, I found the entry for "home" and called it. The guy picked up at the same time as his answering machine and after the beep, he confessed to not have been going nuts looking for it like you or I might have after 4 minutes, but hadn't even noticed it was gone. I gave him my address and he said he'd come right over. When the doorbell rang, it was the nice man in the blue hat, and his super-speed dog.
"Oh, it's you!" he said.
Having some association with the man beforehand made me glad I didn't dive into his personal data. I would have felt icky.
What would you have done?