Out For a Stroll… on I-90

Don't leave your phone on the trunk of your car.



Have you seen my iPhone?

It’s black and has the Apple logo on the back.

Last seen: On the back of my Ford Taurus heading toward Interstate 90. 

That’s right.

I left my phone on the trunk of my car while filling up at the  on Franklin Boulevard and Warren Road yesterday afternoon, and then set out toward I-90.

About halfway to Westlake for a meeting with Patch colleagues, I realized I’d made one of the biggest brain-farts of my career.

After screaming a few words not fit for this website, I gathered myself and headed back to the gas station.

I retraced each mile.

You may have seen me walking along the highway with Westlake Patch editor and Lakewood resident Kate Spirgen, who volunteered her afternoon to help me search.

We found lots of hypodermic needles, beer cans and fast-food garbage — but no iPhone.

“You wouldn’t believe some of the stuff we find out here,” said Scott Harrison, who works for the Ohio Department of Transportation, when he stopped us to see what we were doing.

He was friendly.

But he didn’t seem too optimistic.

I figure it’s somewhere between Alger Road in Lakewood and Crocker Road in Westlake. 

Kate and I performed a science experiment. At my new least-favorite gas station, I bought a pack of gum, roughly the same size and shape of the iPhone, but about half the weight.

I tucked it into the same spot, the place where the rear window meets the trunk. Starting at the Speedway, we thought we’d see how long the gum would stay put. 

It didn’t move at all as we drove south on Warren Road. But about 30 seconds on I-90, Monday’s howling winds yanked the package of gum from the trunk and scattered it all over the highway.

We found most of the remains near the Hilliard Road exit. 

Of course, I picked up the garbage. I’m absent-minded, not a litterbug.

But there was no sign of the iPhone.

Wherever it is, it’s not smashed into a million pieces.

How do I know this? Because I called it all day and it rang every time. 

If the phone had been chewed up by a semi-truck like a package of spearmint Orbit gum, it would’ve gone straight to voicemail.

I figured, in this digital age of global positioning systems, that AT&T could help me find it.

No dice.

Neither could the police department, even though it sure seemed like an emergency to me.

Turns out there’s an app called Find My iPhone.

But it’s got to be installed before you lose your phone. 

What can you learn from my stroll along I-90? 

  • First of all, don’t put your iPhone on your trunk while you’re getting gas.
  • Back up the info — music, photos and contacts — from your smartphone to your computer. Do it now.
  • Not a bad idea to download an app that will help you locate your phone should you leave it on the trunk of your car.

No need to thank me. But if you’re trying to reach me, perhaps email is the best way for the next few days.

And, if I’ve ever called your phone, I don’t have your number anymore. 

Feel free to share it with me again.

Michael Rice April 24, 2012 at 12:00 PM
Colin, Have you used icloud? If not try logging into iCloud.com and log in with your apple ID. You try using the Find My iPhone app from the website.
Stephanie Toole April 24, 2012 at 12:39 PM
That is a bummer! Didn't you back up your iPhone on your computer? It saves all our contacts and apps and calendar...everything.
Michele April 24, 2012 at 12:42 PM
So sorry to hear. I am petrified to driving off and leaving something important. I've given coffee, sodas, my purse, and even a very full diaper bag all horrific roof/trunk rides. I like the above Brian's comment. I for some reason remember if you have iTunes synced with your phone you can download directly to your phone. May not be true, could be android that does it... but it doesn't hurt to try? Good luck Colin!!!
Megan Millisor April 24, 2012 at 12:49 PM
If the iCloud site works for you, it is super accurate. I can even tell if I left my phone in my car (at the back of my house) or on the front porch (obviously at the front of my house). This option is awesome, but a tad creepy how specific it gets.
Lori E. Switaj April 24, 2012 at 02:50 PM
Colin, I did a few drive-bys near the Crocker-I-90 exit and saw nothing. Obviously, or you'd have your phone back by now. All I can say is I'm glad I'm not the first Patch editor in our group to have an iPhone oopsie (heavily knocking on wood).
Colin McEwen April 24, 2012 at 04:43 PM
Lakewood Patch readers are the best! I shouldn't have been surprised by all the awesome feedback I received. But, still, no luck. I am going to cancel that phone and order a new one. I can't imagine the old one's still in one piece.
Colin McEwen April 24, 2012 at 04:43 PM
I've got photos, videos and music. But no contacts.
Chris Mazzolini (Editor) April 24, 2012 at 07:15 PM
Sorry about the phone, but this is awesome


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