celebrate kindness

To the Person Who Stole My Best Friend’s Phone

Posted on: July 18, 2014

Today’s random act of kindness is actually a story told through text messages. A few weeks ago, as I was packing up to return home from the ISTE conference, I saw this post on my best friend’s Facebook wall:

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Have you ever lost something of value?  Sure you have!  When was the last time you went looking for your car keys or your phone charger?  You know the feeling well… searching… looking… “I thought for sure it was here…”  It’s an uncomfortable state of mind to not know the exact location of something that belongs to you, especially something valuable.

Now imagine that same feeling, but add the realization that what you are looking for is GONE.  Not misplaced.  Not tucked away in a pocket, purse, or briefcase.  GONE.  What feelings flood your mind now?

Confusion.  Violation.  Fear.  Anger.  Angst.  Roll them all together and you are officially racing up and down the tallest roller coaster hills with no end in sight.  Welcome to my best friend’s world.

As I read her message, my blood froze, then boiled.  I know, I know, cell phone theft is on the rise, but it doesn’t make it acceptable by any means!  In this day of digital identity theft, the thought of a stolen cell phone is close to that of a stolen lock-box at the bank. Stop for a moment and think to yourself:  If my phone was stolen, what items could a thief access without my permission?

Did I mention that my best friend did NOT have a lock code activated? (Please don’t lecture her.  She’s heard it ALL.)

As her friend for more than 20 years, I felt like I had an obligation to do something… anything… but what?  I hated standing to the side feeling helpless, imagining the kick-in-the-gut feeling she was going through at that moment.  So I did the only thing I knew to do.  I started text messaging the person who stole my best friend’s phone.

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(If you can’t read the text messages, click here to read them in paragraph form.)

I sent these texts as I was packing.  Waiting for the Marta.  Boarding an airplane.  Arriving home.  I prayed the person who had my friend’s phone would not only receive the messages by sight, but by spirit as well.  I knew it was a long shot.  “Why even make the effort?  What are the chances the person will really turn in the phone?”  Sure, the odds were against me, but I had nothing to lose. (Well, maybe fifty bucks, but even that would be a fair price to pay for my friend’s relief.)

And then… this message on my friend’s Facebook wall:

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THIS. IS. WHY. I. DO. WHAT. I. DO!

When I say I believe there is good in this world, I BELIEVE WHAT I SAY!  There IS good in this world!  Her phone was returned, unharmed.  Her identity was not stolen (although they are still closely monitoring all their accounts just in case.)  This was a multi-faceted lesson for her, her friends, her family, and now you, the person reading this blog.

How you react to a situation, no matter what that situation may be, can very well determine the outcome.  I chose to respond with love.  Kindness. Appreciation.  Expectation.  Joy.

And in this specific example… we ALL won. Yay!  🙂

Be blessed as you rise above the turmoil to bring good back into this world. I will be cheering you on, every step of the way!

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2 Responses to "To the Person Who Stole My Best Friend’s Phone"

I stole my best friends phone and I feel like a total bitch. I wish I had read this earlier or something, because I think I would’ve snapped out of the trance and given it back, and I wouldn’t be in horrible problems that a 14 year old should never experience. It hurts because it was a horrible mistake and I’m not sure what to do next, she’s been my best friend since 3rd grade and now I’m in high school, my entire friend group has turned against me and I feel the loneliest I have ever felt in my entire life. I’m too scared to apologize even though I really really want to, I just can’t for the life of me because I feel so embarrassed and sad. I’m not exactly sure why I’m commenting on this right now, but I feel like I just need to put it out there for some reason because maybe somebody will read this and help me in some form, because my life feels so destroyed from a mistake that I regret infinetly, but I can’t express that because I can’t bring myself to apologize. These things are hard to do and it’s been 2 months and I still can’t put it into the right words, everything I write or want to say sounds like a big justification for my terrible action and I just don’t know.

sorry to bother,
a girl who just wants to disappear~

Oh sweet girl, how I wish I could give you a hug and let you know that everything will be OK. Yes, you made a mistake and you are reaping the consequences which is a hard lesson to learn when you are 14. Here I sit, 30 years older than you, with tears streaming from my eyes writing the obituary for my mom’s passing.

Oh sweet girl, I know it is so difficult to own up to our actions and apologize, but it’s the only thing that will give you peace. Perhaps you write an anonymous note and leave the phone on her doorstep in the middle of the night. A simple, “I took your phone because I was really angry and now I realize it was the wrong thing to do and I’m sorry” is enough.

Friendships are hard work and so easily torn apart by the silliness of teenage angst. But I am here today to tell you that friendships matter and you need to treasure them with all your heart for they will be the lifeline for you when you need them the most.

It’s incredibly challenging to be strong when you feel the world is glaring against you. But this, sweet girl, is perception not reality. I guarantee there is a forever friend out there waiting to meet you, so please keep pressing on. (As a sidebar, the story you just read was about my forever friend who I never even knew existed until I was 19 years old in college.)

Give back the phone. Apologize. It’s the right thing to do and it will lift SUCH a weight off your shoulders. You will never forget this lesson of cause/effect and choice/consequences. You have felt the sting of repercussions. Now is the time to do the right thing. It’s never too late to say “I’m sorry.”

I’m thankful that you came across my blog and shared your experiences with me. My heart is grieving for my mom right now and it feels good to know that the stories I share might have a positive impact on others.

If you’d like to follow me through my journey in life’s ups and downs, visit http://www.tamaraletter.com. I wish you well, sweet girl, and I hope your day gets a little brighter.

You matter. Your friend matters. Actions matter. Do the right thing so you can breathe again. 🙂

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