Patience Akpan-Obong: The miracle of losing my phone and getting it back

by Patience Akpan-Obong


Some 30 minutes after we left, we returned to the bank. I didn’t think the phone would still be there. I just wanted the satisfaction of knowing that I looked for it.

Loss or theft of cell phones is common place in Nigeria. A whine about it elicits a major yawn. I cut a pathetic figure four years ago when I went crazy over a phone that was stolen at the Le Meridien in Uyo. It was not so much the loss of the device, or the loss of phone numbers or the fact that there was personal information which I wouldn’t have wanted a stranger to access. What bothered me the most was that someone perceived me as a powerless victim, enough to rob.

My lunch companions were sympathetic though I could tell they were stifling yawns. They had lost cell phones many times in the past and couldn’t understand why I was making a federal case of my loss – first-ever phone loss experience.

And so when I realized on Tuesday that I had left my brand new phone at a counter at a UBA branch on Calabar Road, Calabar, I decided to chill (like ice water). I was so calm that my smarty-pant nine-year-old companion didn’t believe that I had really lost my phone. “You are too calm,” he said. The driver of our vehicle called my phone to eliminate the possibility that it was in the car. When we didn’t hear the sound of the phone, the boy suggested I must have left it on mute. He was still unconvinced that I would be this calm if I really lost my newest toy.

Some 30 minutes after we left, we returned to the bank. I didn’t think the phone would still be there. I just wanted the satisfaction of knowing that I looked for it. As I approached the Quick Teller section on the first floor where I had gone to pay for my airline ticket to Lagos, I saw one of the staff and she said, “You are back.” I told her that I was looking for my phone. “Oh Oh!” she said in a tone that suggested I shouldn’t even think I would find it again. But as she said this, she glanced around reflexively. “May be it’s that one,” she said pointing in the direction of the counter where I had done my transaction. It was, indeed, the one!

And a marvel it was that a brand new BlackBerry phone sat unattended on a bank counter for at least 30 minutes and no one had the brilliant idea of stealing it. That is what I call a miracle! When I left earlier, three people (two men and a woman) were waiting to be served by the guy behind the counter, Mr. Valentine Nwankwo. When I went back, the two men had been replaced by two other men. The woman was still the same. She could have picked the phone but she didn’t. Any of the four men could have picked the phone but they didn’t. Any of the other bankers moved in and out of the area could have picked the phone but they didn’t.

The UBA once proudly claimed that “wise men bank with UBA.” Then the goddesses gave them Chief Bola Kuforji-Olubi as their chairperson and so they inserted: “and women too.” We can now add another insertion point: “and honest too.” And of course if this new insertion shows up on billboards, the bank will definitely get a bill from me!

I write this because I think a shout-out is in order for all those fine people who work in the Quick Teller section of UBA Branch #2 (or is that #1) on Calabar Road, Calabar. A louder shout-out goes to the customers who saw my phone but minded their own business. May the angels watch over your own phone… not that angels have nothing better to do, mind you!


Read this article on the Punch Newspapers


Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.

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