How I borrowed an iPhone 5C for a week

For just over a week, I have been the owner of a blue iPhone 5C. Here are a couple of pictures of the phone before I returned it yesterday.

iPhone 5C

iPhone 5C

I wasn’t planning on being an owner of the iPhone but it turned out to be an emergency situation. It sort of started out like this…

I had a physiotherapy appointment in the morning and I happened to be carrying a bag I wanted to donate to a charity bin on my way home. I sat in the surgery waiting for my appointment, and like most other people, sat there checking twitter, email and everything else. I got called in for my appointment, and after finishing went straight away to the place I could donate my bag. The charity bin looked like this:

The Charity Bin

I pushed my bag through the slot, firmly pushing the bag and closing the door with acceleration to ensure the bag found its way deep inside the bin where no one could easily pull it out. I turned, and proceeded home. It was about half way home that I realised my phone was missing. Not in my jacket. Not in my pockets. Panic set in as I slowly realised my phone sat firmly inside the bag I just donated, and that bag sat firmly inside a steel bin where I could not retrieve it.

I ran back to the bin to see if I somehow could pull the bag out with a strap, but it was simply not possible. All I could touch was a big metal scoop and I could only see the deep black void of the bin’s insides.

There was a number on the bin, but then I had no phone to call it with. I had a flight to catch in the afternoon, so time was of the essence. I headed straight to the apple store. I was fortunate everything happened very early. I was in the apple store by 10:30am and with a new iPhone shortly after.

Why an iPhone 5C you ask? I would have bought an iPhone 5S but they were all out. The only options were a 5C, or an 8GB 4S. I went with the blue iPhone 5C you see in the pictures above. The salesperson assured me I could return the phone within 14 days and possibly upgrade to the 5S if I came in on a day they had any in stock. That seemed very reasonable to me.

Phone done, but not yet connected. I made my way to an EE store to get a replacement sim card. I was fortunate they could make a replacement on the spot for £10. So by about 11am I was reconnected to a telephone network. Racing home, a quick sync with my laptop brought the rest of the phone back up to scratch with important things I would need for my travels including apps that stored my travel details and contacts for people I needed to reach.

Not yet done, I headed back to the charity bin to call the number. I also made sure I took a picture of the bin that you see above. I’m thankful the number was on the bin. A guy called Kevin picked up who I explained my situation to. He was very reasonable, and I left all my contact details with him. Kevin explained that they only collect from the charity bins once a week, but they could try to send a person around. I told him that I would be out of the country so he said he would call me if they found anything. I understood his sentiment that there was no guarantee they would find it but I was certainly hopeful.

With nothing left that I could do, I headed home and tried to not worry myself about what just happened. The event was past and there was nothing left I could do. Still, I felt quite badly as I packed for my work trip (and I do feel guilty and definitely ashamed about it even now).

Kevin left a message three days later. I listened to the message, expecting the worst. Fortunately he surprised me and told me they had found my phone and I could come and pick it up when I was back in London. I was so relieved and thankful.

The first day I was back in London, I went to their offices in Beckenham to pick up the phone. I dropped off giant-sized Toblerone to say thanks – my last trip was to Geneva and it felt most appropriate.

After this time, the phone was truly drained. I plugged it into a battery pack I recently bought, and 20 minutes later it was back up to about 20%, enough for me to feel happy to try restoring it. iTunes worked seamlessly, I dropped in the new sim and tested everything worked. Phew! Everything appeared to work.

After resetting my iPhone 5C to its original condition, I headed back to the apple store with everything in hand and I was able to get a refund for my purchase. Yay!