Monday, December 21, 2015

My Luckiest Night in Vegas Ever

Boy did I get lucky Saturday night!

It had nothing to do with poker or gambling.  But for about an hour, I was in total panic mode and I was very lucky that the incident that had me all panicked had a very happy ending.

It was late in the evening and I was at MGM.  I was done playing poker for the evening.  I was trying to relax and enjoy the, um, scenery that is provided there on a night when the club is open.  One problem I've been having ever since arriving in Vegas is that my chronic bad back has been more problematic than usual.  It really bothers me most when I do a lot of walking, and in this case "a lot" is not really all that much.  So I was sitting down in front of one of the automated roulette machines that is located by the deli, which is also close to one of the areas where the club-goers line up.  It's a pretty good place to sit and enjoy the view on a club nite.

I was using my phone to, among other things, text one of my pals.  After I was done with the texting, I put my cell phone down on the roulette machine, next to the bottle of soda I had.  I remember thinking that maybe that wasn't such a good idea, thinking that since the phone and the soda were behind me, it was possible somebody could rush by and grab my phone before I could notice.  Or even if I did notice, once they were running away I'd be helpless since I can't move very fast due to my back issues.

But does anyone really do that these days?  Steal cell phones like that?  I thought it unlikely, but definitely thought that I had to make sure to grab my phone when I was ready to get up.  In fact, I was sure that at one point, after looking at my phone, I put it back in the case that I use for it, that is attached to my belt (the belt goes through the loops so the case can't fall off).

Anyway, I got up finally, walked around as best I could, and headed towards the back of the property where the parking garage is.  I made my way slowly, because if I walk slowly enough, my back isn't too bad.  I was basically walking at half my normal pace.

When I got back near the hotel lobby, I took a seat in front of a slot machine.  I needed a rest before heading back to my car since there was still a long walk to the car from there (the MGM is a big freaking place).  Pus that location is also pretty good for enjoying viewing the club-goers coming and going.  Also it is also possible to catch a hooker sighting or two there.

I was there for awhile and I believe I was just about to reach for my phone to see if I had any new emails or texts when my buddy Abe walked by, on his way to his car.  I had missed seeing him in the poker room earlier.  He stopped and had a nice chat, probably at least 20-minutes.  Finally he continued on and I stayed behind.  And so then I reached into my case for my cell phone and….nothing.  WTF?

I stood up and looked around.   Nothing on the floor near me. I checked all my pockets even though I rarely put my phone anywhere but in my case.  Nope, not there.

Holy shit!  This was scary. I mean, my whole life is on that cell phone. I can't afford to lose it.

I thought the most likely thing was that I actually did leave the phone resting on that roulette machine, even though I was sure I hadn't because I had actually thought of that very possibility.  So I headed back towards that machine. But I was also retracing my steps and scanning the floor, as it struck me as possible that it had somehow fallen out (or was possibly knocked out, tho I didn't recall bumping into anyone) along the way. I tried to follow my path back as accurately as I could remember it.

Interesting thing.  I was in such a frantic state, I was walking totally pain free (or at least, oblivious to the pain) and I was walking at least three times faster than my normal pace and who knows how much faster than I had been walking since arriving in Vegas.

Anyway, I made it back to the roulette machine, and of course the phone was not there, and I looked all around the floor near there and found nothing. It was time to head to Lost & Found.  Until that very moment, I had never needed this service at MGM, so I stopped by the poker room and asked where it was.  Turns it was back where I was when I first noticed the phone was missing, near the entrance to the parking garage.

I headed over there and of course kept scanning the floor for a phone.  No luck.  When I got to the Lost & Found, I was nervous as hell and very upset, and there was this guy in front of me trying to locate his coat, which, from what I could tell, he had actually checked somewhere, so it was weird that it was missing.  Anyway, after telling this guy three times that his coat had not been turned into them, he somehow, magically, found the guy's coat.

Meanwhile I'm sweating bullets just desperate to talk to this guy and praying my phone was turned in.  The guy checked his computer and there was no phone turned in that evening.  Nada, zippo.  I was surprised that he didn't ask me to fill out a report.  Instead, he gave me a card and told me to check back at that number in a couple of hours to see if it had shown up.  Well, since I didn't have a phone, that was sure going to be easy, wasn't it?  Well, I do have a hotel phone I can use in my room.  Just like in the old days, before everyone had a cell phone.

I wasn't ready to quit yet.  I wanted to do one more attempt at retracing my steps to see if I could find it myself, by some miracle.  Again, no luck.  But when I was in the area where I last saw it, a thought came to me that maybe one of the bouncers who police the lines to the club may have found it (since I may have dropped in that vicinity).  And if so, perhaps they hadn't yet had a chance to turn into L&F. So I asked one of them, he checked with another one who actually could use his cell phone to tap directly into the L&F inventory.  And he told me that there was no phone turned in. I asked if there was any chance one of the other bouncers had picked up and just hadn't had a chance to return it, and he said no, they would turn it in right away.

Looks like I was screwed.  As I walked back to the parking garage, I started thinking, planning and wondering what the hell I was gonna do.  I figured first thing I'd do when I got back to my room was just try calling myself and see if someone answered.  Of course that would be a long distance call from my hotel room phone, and back in the day when that was the only way to make a call from your room, they used to charge exorbitant rates both for just making a call and then for the long distance charge.  But that was the least of my problems.

I figured I'd call Verizon and see what help they could offer me.  Could they locate the phone?  I have to confess, I had done nothing in advance to prepare for something like this, no app installed that could help me.  I was working without a net. 

I figured I'd have to spend all night changing every single password for ever single app or program or account that I have on my phone. And then what?  If my phone had not been turned in by morning, I couldn't do my work without a phone.  I couldn't do Vegas without a phone.  Could I get a temporary replacement?  Would I have to buy a new phone (at full cost)?  I wasn't looking forward to that possibility.  But what choice would I have?

I made the walk back towards the garage in a very agitated state.  I never took my eyes off the floor still hoping to see it somewhere on the floor.  Since the L&F desk is right by the escalator down to the garage, I had nothing to lose by stopping by there one more time just to see if maybe it had turned up in the past 20-minutes or so.  It was like drawing to a one-outer but what did I have to lose?

I went back there and the same guy was there, no one in front of me this time.  He greeted me with a "What can I do for you, sir," as if he didn’t recognize me from just a few minutes earlier.

I told him I was just double checking on my cell phone.

"What kind of phone was it again?"

I told him it was an LG G3.

Suddenly he reached for something on his desk that I hadn't noticed…a cell phone!  He pulled off the yellow sticky that was on it that said "Stage Deli" on it and examined it to see if he could identify the kind of phone it was.  He couldn't, but I could already tell it was my phone.  So he asked who my carrier was, since that is identified on the phone itself.  I told him it was Verizon and he asked me to unlock the phone.  Since all I had to do was tap the front of the phone a couple of times and swipe, that didn't really prove it was my phone but it seemed good enough him.  He did take a copy of my driver's license and made me sign a form that I had received my phone back, but that was it.  I cannot tell you how relieved I was. Phew.  I would be able to sleep that night!

I asked if it was an employee or a good Samaritan who had found it, and he said it was an employee.  I'm guessing it was a janitor.  The sticker indicated it was found in the area where I last remembered using it, where I had put it down on the roulette machine.  But I honestly don't believe I left it on the machine.  I think it is much more likely that when I went to put it back in my case, I didn't secure it properly and probably just didn't notice that it fallen on the floor.  But I'll never really know.

I'd like to thank the Lost & Found and the security folks at MGM for their great service and response.  Great job.

But let's face it, I got incredibly lucky.  No doubt the luckiest thing that's ever happened to me in Vegas, getting that phone back, unscathed, in such a short period of time.  Of course that one hour that it was missing will probably take two years off my life, but I'll worry about that later.

Meanwhile, would love to hear advice as to what steps I should have taken if I had had to return to my room without the phone?  And what should I do know to be better prepared for this if —perish the thought—this ever happens again.


  1. Rob,
    Do you remember the scene from the Jerk, where Steve Martin is working at the Gas station and the restroom key is on long chain and ......attached to a wheel rim?
    Maybe that is what you need a long chain? :)


    1. Hmmm....a litle awkward to carry around, but I'll take it under consideration. Thanks, norm.

  2. I think they have apps now that you can put on your laptop that uses the phone's GPS to locate it. I keep thinking I need to do that, but have been too lazy so far.

    1. Yeah, I added Android Device Manager, which helps, but the phone must be on to be found. It can also lock and erase the phone. I'm looking for something with a bit more teeth and perhaps that would make it even easier.

    2. Rob - the "lock and erase" or "remote wiping" function is critical to make sure no one can access any of your accounts. Make sure that is active and available (even if the phone has to be on).

      Otherwise, make sure your Verizon Cloud settings are up-to-date. It will back up your contacts, selected documents, apps, etc. This way if you do ever lose it, your new phone will automatically pull this stuff the 1st time you start it up.

      Pay the $10/month insurance if you deem it's worth it. Verizon will overnight you a new phone in the event you lose or damage it. Peace of mind!

      Or you can ask TBC to help you with all this, I'm sure he's the proper expert.

    3. Thanks Zodiac. I think I have that set up with Android Device Manager, I do need to check Cloud as I keep getting messages that my cloud is full!

  3. I have something similar on my IPhone and I can tell you from personal experience it works great, but you need another device to track it. Long story short I dropped my phone in SF on the street. Discovered I lost it right away and it was gone. Drove and met a friend who had an iPhone and we located it. The app lets u locate it even if its turned off. We drove back to where it was which was a mile or so from where I dropped it and followed the signal. I didn't have a lotta faith but followed it and saw some homeless guy on a bench. Went up to him and saw it in his hands. He just looked and handed it back,said he was trying to call me but it was locked. Big relief we are all so tied into those things. I even gave him a twenty even tho I doubt he had god intentions. The app definately works well. Have since used it when it's been lost in the house as you can make your phone give off an audible signal

    1. That's great, Tatude, and giving the homeless fellow a twenty was well worth it.

      I want to research more to see if I better Android options than Android Device Manager....that only works if the phone is on. If it is turned off...or the battery dies, no help.

  4. I'm not too familiar with the Android system. Have a Samsung but never really use it. There has to be something out there tho. The Apple app will work with the phone turned off and will also turn it on and sound an alarm so you can find it ie if you tracked it into a crowded area. It's very accurate. I think you are screwed if the battery dies. The twenty was a small token as we are so dependent on these stupid phones. You feel lost without them and its the only way people can contact me. I remember going to look at the iPhone when it came out. Needed a way to day trade easier. Was so impressed at how easy it was to use bought the phone and 600 shares of AAPL after that. Unfortunately I didn't keep either very long. Big improvement over the flip phone days. I would assume there is a better app that allows you to track your phone out there for Android phones. The technology should work in either platform and I can attest to the fact if works very well. Nothing like the panic that sets in when u lose one.

    1. Thanks again, I'm doing some research for sure.