What would you do if you found a phone in your car…years after it was left behind?
That’s what happened to Alex Tom, but there’s more to this story. Alex found an iPhone in his Subaru, but it wasn’t in any easily accessible area; mechanics discovered it while working on his airbag.
Naturally, Alex turned to the internet for help, posting on Facebook and launching one of the greatest internet scavenger hunts of the last year.
“Have you (a) ridden in my car and (b) mysteriously lost an iPhone in the last 5 or so years? Got my passenger airbag replaced and they found an white iPhone 4s [sic] hiding inside the airbag compartment. If this background looks familiar, let me know. VERY curious to find its owner.”
Some internet sleuthing quickly turned up a few tantalizing clues.
First, the phone’s date was set to January 3rd, 2015. Apparently, it had died on that day, and for some reason, it couldn’t update its date when its battery was recharged.
That might be partially due to the fact that the iPhone was in airplane mode. Unfortunately, that also meant that Alex couldn’t get into the phone to find additional information.
But Alex was able to view the phone’s notifications, where he found another clue: a weather report. The notification said that the day’s temperature would reach 91 degrees Fahrenheit—another potentially important piece of information.
Then, a big one: One notification held a message from a woman named Bonnie. Delivered via a dating app, it read: “I like ‘le petit prince’ i dont go to yosemite often [sic]. Do you?”
This drove readers crazy, because the dating app notification didn’t have a year. However, it was a fairly unusual dating app called Coffee Meets Bagel. Could internet sleuths access the app to track down someone with “Le Petit Prince” on their profile?
But while the internet was discussing the possibilities, Alex was hooking the phone to a computer.
It displayed as “Sully’s iPhone.” That would solve the mystery…if Alex Tom knew anybody named Sully.
Meanwhile, a guy named Logan Yoleaux Roberts came up with a brilliant idea: contact the Coffee Meets Bagel customer support. The dating app’s team was able to track down Sully.
“When, less than 24 hours later I got an email from Melissa at [”Coffee Meets Bagel”], I literally shot up out of my chair at my desk and yelled,” Alex told Huffington Post. “I scared the sh** out of the guy sitting next to me, but we’d all been following the story so closely, he was thrilled, too, when he found out that we had found Sully …”
Sully turned out to be a good sport, and he was happy to answer questions for his adoring “fans.”
No word on “Bonnie,” but some mysteries are better left unsolved.
There was one more important question: Was this a safety issue? After all, the phone was found near the airbag…except, of course, that it wasn’t.
“Where the phone was found really is not the ‘airbug compartment,'” explained a Subaru representative to Huffington Post. “It’s just the inner dash below the airbag. Sounds like it dropped behind the glove box. If the airbag deployed, the phone would still be in the dash until the body shop found it when they replaced the deployed airbag.
“It would not cause the airbag to go off as the airbag wiring is tucked well out of the way for anything falling back there to interfere with or damage it.”