The incident occurred during The Three Weeks when work at my place of employment for the summer months came to a standstill. I was to meet with a couple of high school buddies of mine at the train shelter in Cedarhurst, from where we had planned to walk to the park.
It was only a few seconds into our walk when I realized that I was missing my cell phone. Even as I searched my pockets, to no avail, I already knew that I had left my blackberry behind at the shelter and hoped I’d find it sitting idle on the bench.
My heart sank. The bench was bare and there was no phone to be found. I borrowed my friend’s phone and dialed my number. A woman answered but spoke only Spanish and didn’t seem to understand anything I was saying. I asked her to put someone on the phone that spoke English. A man said hello.
I explained that they had my phone and asked them to return it to the place where they had found it. The man replied that this would not be possible since he was on the train headed for Jamaica. When I told him he had no right to take it and that I would report him to the police, the phone went dead.
Despite my frustration, my gut instinct told me that my blackberry wasn’t gone for good and that I would be seeing it again. Still, I was no longer in a mood to visit the park and returned home where I used our landline to badger the thieves, determined not to lose track of my phone’s whereabouts. The scenario kept repeating itself; the woman would answer and upon my insistence hand the phone to the same man, until he abruptly terminated the call after saying he had reached his stop and needed to get off.
I called again, but there was no answer. Shortly thereafter our phone rang – the ID displaying my cell number. It was Nanda, my grandmother’s longtime housekeeper who’d been with the family since my mother was a little girl.
“Did you lose a phone?” she asked my mother.
“Yes, Josh did,” answered my mom. “How in the world did you end up with his phone?” she asked the woman who knew us well.
Nanda explained that she was riding the LIRR when a female commuter about to disembark tossed the phone at her.
A startled Nanda checked the blackberry and was even more surprised to find that several recent incoming calls were made from none other than our home number – one she was quite familiar with. That’s when she called us, figuring we’d be able to shed light on the mystery of her unexpected “gift.” (If they weren’t already aware that cell phones can not only be disabled but tracked as well, I had made sure to let the thieves know that their prize find could end up costing them dearly.)
Nanda was scheduled to work for someone in our neighborhood the following day and was more than happy to stop by with my phone. Needless to say I was immensely grateful to her, and more so to Hashem, who saved me the expense of acquiring a new phone, as well as the major hassle of attempting to replace all the accumulated personal data.
The chances of Nanda being in that car of that train at that time and the one passenger (among many) chosen to be the recipient of my blackberry was remote at best. It could only have been arranged by the One that coordinates every aspect of our daily lives.