I still have no idea how I did it, but somehow, I lost my computer in the Mexico City Airport and did not notice it until I opened my briefcase in my home office in Bucerias. Either I forgot to pick it up from the security bin (unlikely) or I forgot it in the Aeromexico lounge where we spent a few hours relaxing (quite likely). I chalk it up to getting only 1.5 hours sleep on our overnight flight from Vancouver to Mexico City. On top of that, after landing, we were trapped in the longest customs lineup of my life – 1 ½ hours of inching through the cattle stalls while women from Peru kept sneaking under the rails to bypass us. I had a couple of free passes to the private lounge and I decided that since we still had 3 hours to kill, a comfy leather chair and some free snacks were definitely in order. I remember finding us some soft chairs in a quiet corner with a plugin for my computer and then I don’t really remember if I actually plugged in the computer or not. All I knew for sure on Monday afternoon was that I was in Bucerias and my computer was not. PANIC!!!!!! I had a lot of work to do after a busy week of meetings and losing my computer would be pretty much catastrophic. The good news is that it is backed up weekly, so I would have most of my files, but I had done a lot of work over the previous few days that would be lost.
I started by googling the Lost and Found department at the Mexico City Airport, Terminal 2 and you won’t believe it. First call…. they had my computer. In broken Spanish I explained my problem and the woman who did not speak English understood me after asking a few questions. Playa? It has a playa? YES it has a beach on the screen. (Of course, it does, right?). It says DIVA? What? DIVA? What? Oh yes Dive! It says Dive Sask. That’s the one. In 10 minutes I had found the computer. How hard could it be to get it home?
The woman suggested I call the next morning when the English speaker Mataya was there to help me get it home. I was obviously pretty pleased with myself and thought I was freaking awesome for solving this problem. I was actually pretty darn stupid to think this was going to be so easy.
The next day I called back to this office and Mataya told me to contact the Aeromexico Lost and Found department and they would be able to help me. I would need a copy of my passport, my boarding passes and a power of attorney authorizing them to send it to the Puerto Vallarta airport. She gave me their number. After searching through the garbage can to find my discarded boarding passes (remember those dang boarding passes????) I called the number Mataya had given me. Of course, that number didn’t work. After a bit of searching online I did find another number and then my nightmare began.
Over the next 2 days I called that number 35 times. One call lasted 1 hour, 44 minutes and 58 secs. Another was 31 minutes and 5 seconds. Norma would ask the same questions, give me the same instructions (you must email your boarding pass and passport and a letter) and I would give her the same answers (Norma, I emailed that to you this morning – please check your email) and then she would say “Okay let me check” and put her phone on the desk so I could hear her talking to the guy with the lost IPhone and then 15 minutes later we would have the exact same conversation. For 1 hour and 44 minutes and 58 seconds. I was starting to lose it. I could see that computer slipping away. She kept asking me which flight I lost it on and I kept saying “Norma, it is sitting at the Terminal 2 Lost and Found – please just check your email and then go get my computer and put it on a flight. PLEASE NORMA!!!!” “Okay let me check.” “Okay I found your email and boarding passes, but I need a copy of your passport.” “Norma, it’s in the same email.” “Okay let me check”. 15 minutes. “Okay I found your passport but I need a letter asking us to send the computer.” “NORMA IT’S ALL IN THE SAME EMAIL. PLEASE CHECK.” “Okay let me check”.
“Okay all these documents seem okay, let me see if I can find the computer.” Sigh. “I know where the computer is. It is at Terminal 2 Lost and Found. They have my computer. Please just put it on a flight to Puerto Vallarta”. Okay I will call you right back when I find it.”. That conversation took 1 hour and 44 minutes and I was no closer to seeing my computer. A few hours later I hadn’t heard back so I called again. 31 minutes and 5 seconds later we had agreed that my computer was a silver Dell and that it was at Terminal 2 Lost and Found. And that Norma would email me to tell me which flight it would be on the next day. Of course, the next day Norma did not email me. I checked my email every 30 seconds and I called a few more times. No one had any answers for me. “Senora, which flight did you leave your computer on?” Aargh…..no….. I didn’t lose it on a flight. Is Norma there? “No Norma is not here”. Click. Dial tone.
Having had enough of Norma, I decided to try the Aeromexico office in Puerto Vallarta. Let’s work this backwards. I called the office in PV “No one here speaks English. Try the airport.” Honestly, my Spanish was exhausted so I called the airport. I started telling my story and then Victor said to me “Ah yes, Senora Swanson, I have your computer here.” “WHAT?” It’s in PV? NOW?” Yes it is – I will be here until 6:00.” Obviously, Grant and I flew out of the house and sped to the airport. Victor met me with a sealed box and then he said, “Well I can’t really give this to you unless you give me a letter authorizing us to give it to you.” “Victor, I sent a letter to Aeromexico in Mexico City. Many times. Please, I really need my computer.” “Well Senora Swanson, Aeromexico has been very kind to you but we can’t be held responsible if your computer is damaged. (Looking at the look on my face….) Okay I will give it to you but when you get home please email me a letter for my files.” And then he handed me scissors and told me to open it myself. He didn’t want to be responsible. I was terrified. What would be in the box? Would it be my computer or that other dude’s IPhone? Would it be broken?
The first thing I saw in the box was the letter I had sent – right on top. I handed it to Victor who was very happy. I dug deeper and there was my precious computer. In perfect shape. I was very, very happy. And Norma? I imagine she is still on the phone listening to tired traveler’swoes and ‘checking’ on solutions. She is probably happy.