A funny thing happened on the way to IMAPS 2009

This is not a story about 3D integration technologies (although I’m sure I can figure out a way to work it in). This is about random acts of kindness, karma, and validation of my belief that most people in this world are decent and good. This morning, somewhere between the San Jose Airport and the convention center, I lost my cell phone. And the most disturbing thing about it was the feeling that I had lost much more than just an electronic device. I had lost my direct connection with my daughters, family, my entire network of friends and colleagues, not to mention some really great photos.

I searched through my bags, my colleague, Ed Korczynski’s car, and finally checked with the IMAPS Symposium organizers to see if I had left it on the counter. The last time I had seen it was when I was sitting outside Terminal A in the passenger pick-up area. Ed called me to say he was on the way. I concluded I must have left it on the bench where I was sitting. It was most likely long gone by now.

Mike O’Donoghue, of IMAPS, suggested we call it to see if someone picks up. So Ed did. Turns out a good Samaritan named Chris had seen it sitting on the bench for 20 minutes. Having forgotten his own phone in his car on the way to the airport, he imagined how frustrating it must be to lose your phone altogether. So he picked it up, determined to find its owner, and took it to his office in downtown San Jose, a five-minute walk from the convention center. He used it to make 2 calls, his home, to tell his wife he’d forgotten his phone, and my home (saved in the contacts) to alert someone there that the phone had been found. His colleague, Steve, left a voicemail on my phone – just in case I checked it remotely, telling me where I could find my phone. Ed and I walked the few blocks to his building and retrieved the phone. What a relief!

So thanks to one person’s random act of kindness, and several other people’s helpful suggestions, I was saved the annoyance of suspending my service, rebuilding my contact list, and the cost of replacement phone as this one wasn’t insured. To me, this is the perfect illustration of how much we’ve come to rely on these electronic devices as a necessity of daily existence. Now here’s the tie-in to 3D technologies, this need is what drives consumers to (you guessed it) higher functioning, multi-purpose, smart phones, that can only be made possible with 3D integration.

As a final note, I’d like to thank all those who helped navigate through today’s mishap. Thank you Mike and Ed, for helping to locate the phone and retrieve it, thank you Chris, for deciding to pick it up and find its owner, rather than just leave it for someone else to deal with, and Steve, for leaving a voicemail that would have eventually lead me to find it if we hadn’t tried to call. I’ll do my best to pay it forward.