The Unlikely Thief

The Unlikely Thief
& A Prayer For Compassion

I am being advised to send this in to the Readers Digest. Here is your copy a first hand account. This true story is a detailed account, as it happened on Monday, April 23, ’02

It would be a shame to live through this story and not share it with the world. On Monday, April 23rd at about 3:45 p.m. I dropped my Mom off at her apartment. I went up to her apartment and then we both went back to my car at about 4:15 p.m.

When I first walked into my car I felt my pockets for my cell phone and looked inside the car to see if I left it in the car. My Mother looks at me and says, “what’s this lighter (pointing to a white bic lighter) doing in the car?” I looked at it and said, “Oh no someone stole the cell phone out of the car!”

Let’s backtrack a bit. I was born many moons ago in New York and left the jungle because it was too much for me. After living in Michigan and Minnesota since 1977 I have become used to leaving my car unlocked and so on. In Minnesota in the dead of winter many people even leave their cars running as they shop in order to keep it warm. I am quite aware after many horrifying experiences that in NY and especially in my Mother’s neighborhood. One must always empty the car completely before parking a car and ALWAYS lock the doors.

It’s not as if I wasn’t aware of all this, it’s just at 4:00 in the afternoon I thought I could run up for a minute and come back to my car and phone. After an immediate panic set in, I started franticly calling my cell phone in hopes the thief would answer, but it kept ringing and going into my voice mail.

In the past when I had problems with my cell phone I found a great place to go for help. Eddie from Midwood Mobile on Coney Island Avenue, who is a great guy and a very knowledgeable cell phone person heard my story. While I was trying to get the phone shut off he was working to get me a tri-mode cell phone loaner which was not to be found. In the end Eddie went out of his way and together with the great staff at MM they switched me over to a new phone, a loaner. By 7:00 p.m. I had a loaner cell phone with my number ringing to me and I was back in business. Except for one tiny yet very important point. My cell phone holds all the important numbers I need at my fingertips. My clients, family and friends are all on there. I felt very hurt that I had not copied those numbers and now I was with a phone but with no phone numbers to call.

I called the insurance company and while I was giving my information I lost the signal and the connection died. Instead of calling back I went to file a Police report with the 70pct in Brooklyn. Then I went to Maariv (evening prayer) and while standing there I was suddenly struck with a thought. For the past few weeks my mind has been concentrating on the conflict in Israel. While I hope a political conclusion is possible my thoughts every day are on what are we doing about speaking to G-d about this.. Therefore, with Him on my mind I asked if He could please instill compassion into the thief to return the phone with all my information on it. Later that night, with the cell phone securely by my side I went to sleep.

Tuesday, April 24 at 7:15 a.m. my phone rang and when I picked it up the person hung up. I called back and this was the conversation:

Me: Hi Who is this?
Him: My name is Ryan
Me: Ryan whom are you calling?
Him: My friend gave me this number to call
Me: Ryan your friend who gave you this number stole my cell phone
Him: I didn’t do it! Some guy just told me to call him on this number.
Me: Ryan, I need your help. Is it possible to ask this person for compassion. My entire livelihood is on that phone. I need the phone back.
Him: Will there be a reward?
Me: Yes there will be a reward. Please drop off the phone (gave him the address) and put a note in the bag with your name and address and I will send you a Reward.
Him: OK I’ll do that right now.
Me: I really appreciate it.

I hung up the phone and looked at my Mom and said “My cell phone is coming home!” She looked at me in shock as I repeated what just happened. My thoughts were if he did not return the phone today that I’d just give the cops his name, address and phone number.

At 1:00 p.m. responding to erratic ringing I went downstairs and there was this guy called Ryan G. with my cell phone. He said “I didn’t steal it. I told this guy who showed me the phone that he has to give it back. He steals cell phones, not me!” I took the phone and checked that the numbers were not yet erased. He gave me his name and address on a paper and I thanked this Ryan guy and I went upstairs to show my mom the phone.

When I told the story over to Eddie and his staff at Midwood Mobile you can just imagine their utter disbelief and overwhelming gratitude toward a prayer answered. In NY of all places a thief has compassion? everyone asks. If this happened in Michigan or Minnesota no one would be surprised.

Everyone who hears this story asks have I copied over the numbers yet? Yes, of course. Some wonder why I left it in the car, or, why do I have all these numbers on the phone. I have only one conclusion. Someone up there loves us and watches over us. If we ask how could so much tragedy be happening, my question would be have you asked HIM for help lately?

So Everyone wants to know what Reward am I sending Ryan G. From Brooklyn. Any suggestions?

“The kindness of Hahsem has not ended, nor are His mercies exhausted”

Reb Chaim Daskal
Southfield, MI USA