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January 30, 2023

Phoneless in Las Vegas

By Joe Palermo

“I can’t find my phone.”

I ignored my wife’s words, focused on the poker machine in front of me, and debated which cards to hold. I had hit four aces for $800 earlier and was hoping to grow it further. Plus, I was sure it was in her purse and she hadn’t looked hard enough yet. It was our last night in Las Vegas and we were at the Wynn casino.

“I can’t find it anywhere. I know I had it since I posted something on Instagram. I think it was stolen.”

That was it. Now I knew my winning streak was over and we had to focus on the phone situation. I called the restaurant where we had dinner earlier in the evening, just to make sure, and it wasn’t there. Stolen it was.

Using my phone, I clicked on the “find my phone” app. We could see it was now in downtown Vegas where we had never been on this trip. It was seemingly in the middle of the parking lot between a marijuana shop and a McDonald’s. It was already 10:00 pm. Not sure how to proceed and with no phone insurance, I called the police. They said to show up the next morning and file a report, but that we should not go searching for it as it would be too dangerous.

After hanging up with the police, I asked my wife what she wanted to do. “Let’s go look for it,” she said. “Great idea!” was my reply, without even a hint of sarcasm. This was the exact opposite of what the police advised, so we were sure it would be an adventure.

I called an UBER to take us, hoping the driver would be some tough guy that wouldn’t mind scouring the seedy side of Vegas for an iPhone. We were too lazy to go up to our room first, so my wife had her $1000 Chloe bag she bought with winnings from a previous trip and I had the $800 in my pocket from the previously mentioned four aces. The UBER driver turned out to be a young Hispanic-looking guy with tattoos covering both arms. Perfect. I explained the situation to him and asked if he would be willing to take us to where the phone was, wait, and then drive us back. He said sure if I was willing to pay him in cash for the return. No problem there.

When we arrived at the phone location, we could see the area was sketchy with several homeless men loitering around. We pulled up to the marijuana store. The driver, whom I will call Erick since that was his name, asked if I wanted him to come with us. I definitely did, as it was a scary situation. My wife locked her purse in the car and we proceeded into the shop. We had to be buzzed in through the outside door, then there was a man behind a counter with a sliding window to our right and another door beyond that. No one had turned in a phone (surprise!) and we wanted to go through the second security door into the shop. I was able to ping my wife’s phone with my own and would know if anyone had it on their person. We had to have our IDs scanned as “No one goes through those doors unless we scan your ID.” Erick, my wife, and I all went in. There were only three customers inside and our phone was nowhere to be found.

Once back out in the parking lot, we approached two guys sitting down “chewing buds.” They were both looking at their phones, and we asked if they saw a phone around. They didn’t. A homeless guy wandering around with his hands on his head said “I just lost my phone an hour ago.” That was coincidentally the same time we “lost” ours, but that didn’t help. Lastly, we walked into the McDonald’s across the way, but could not hear any pinging from anyone’s phones. We finally gave up and Erick drove us back to the hotel. I gave him $50 for his time and helpfulness, which he seemed to appreciate.

Once at the hotel, we were too wired to sleep. It was our last night on vacation so we decided to forget about the phone and consider our experience an adventure. Besides, I still had $750 left to lose.








Article © Joe Palermo. All rights reserved.
Published on 2022-11-28
Image(s) are public domain.
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