I'm generally prone to losing things, but I actually hadn't lost my wallet in a couple of years. I was overdue. I was on my way back from my first concert since the pandemic started, it ended in Bushwick around 4am and then I had to walk 30 minutes to the Metropolitan G (there weren't any Ubers out at that time). By then, I was barely alive, and my wallet must have slipped out of my pocket into the train sometime between 4:30-5:30am. Most of the time if you lose your wallet on the subway, your chances of getting it back are so slim you don't even try, but I had luck, a kind stranger, and airtags on my side.
I got up the next day around 1pm, so quite some time had passed since the wallet slipped out. I wasn't actually aware until I was about to leave the apartment with my girlfriend (her name is Ashley) to go to a friend's BBQ. I pulled up the Find My app and saw that it was all the way at Church ave. Suspicions confirmed, Church ave is the last stop on the G. I was worried that the wallet was still on a moving subway and I’d have to track it down en route, but I saw it was at Church ave 15 min ago, and 10 minute later there was another update that showed it was still there.
A screenshot of the Find My app telling me my wallet was at the last stop on the G train
We run out and get on the Church bound G right away. We get all the way to the station and immediately go to the booth. The lady at the booth says she hasn’t gotten a wallet. We re-surface to try to get another reading, and see that it's closer to the entrance at the end of the block. We head over and down, but there’s no booth at this side of the station. However, there were some cops nearby and a door that leads to some of the MTA employee spaces. I asked them if I could get in there to ask around, and luckily an MTA guy showed up right then and they brought me in. They took me into a staff breakroom and asked around. No one had seen the wallet, and precision find wasn’t activating even though we were right where the app said it was. One of the guy tells me that it’s probably down in the dispatchers office, which was right underneath us.
Ashley recorded me coming out of the MTA office with the cop and MTA guy lol
We head down the stairs and precision find activates! It starts pointing us right to the booth. I’m getting really excited at this point, I really needed my wallet because we were traveling at the end of the week. We knock on the door and ask the lady inside about a wallet. She says she hasn’t seen or heard about no wallet and shrugs us off. She really didn't want to deal with us and she seemed pretty sure that a wallet did not get turned in.
But we’re SO close, I know the wallet is somewhere around so I keep pushing. I show her the arrow on my phone and tell her that the arrow would lead to the phone. She takes my phone, and goes back inside the office. We can see precision finding guiding her around the office, until it takes her to a drawer, which she opens. To her disbelief, my wallet is there!
The best part about this was the surprise and excitement that lady had. She kept asking me, “How did you do that??” “What is that thing?”. “That was so cool!!!”. I was really happy to get it back of course, but seeing her in awe of this tech really made me feel proud to live that Apple ecosystem life.
I’m so thankful I tagged my wallet, and really impressed with how the tech worked out for me in a real life situation. If I didn’t have the tag, there’s no way I would have gotten that wallet back. I could have wandered down to the dispatchers office, talked to the same lady, and definitely would not have gotten the wallet back even if I was 20 feet away from it. Lately, tech has been moving so fast that I have built in expectations around improvements. It's been some time since I've used some tech that has really wowed me and given me that holy-shit-this-is-the-future feeling. What's really impressive is how a simple and cheap device can tie into the existing ecosystem and integrate with the other devices to create a practical and powerful experience for users.
This post is dedicated to the kind stranger who turned my wallet in.