I was in Langkawi for two meetings running back-to-back July 27-28. A farewell dinner was scheduled for the evening of July 28 for pending retirees and those on transfers. However, with my regular medical check-up scheduled for the morning of July 29, I had to give the dinner a skip. Not wanting to rush the evening for my trip back to Kuala Lumpur, I chose the 21:45 hrs instead of the 17:35 hrs flight. After some final chocolate and nut shopping (things people normally go for in Langkawi), I had my bags packed by 7:30 pm. Drained of its battery, I had my hand phone charging on the beverage counter using the powerpoint meant for the kettle. At my final departure from the room, I remembered packing the charger into my backpack. The phone as always is supposed to go into the outer pocket of my handbag for easy access.
With the promised transport to the Langkawi airport at 20:00 hrs, I was on my way down the elevator for the check-out counter at 19:50 hrs. The airport is only about 20 minutes away. Had my checked-in baggage scanned for security checks, my ticket checked and was issued the boarding pass. A short walk for yet another security scan for hand carried baggage and I was off to the waiting area. Passing the waiting time, I took to reading Glimpses by Adibah Amin.
Noticing that my flight is on schedule, I tried retrieving my phone to call Saadon, the office driver, that is supposed to be waiting for me at KLIA. Feeling for the phone where it is supposed to be, and finding that it was not there, the panic button soon striked. I had my handbag turned inside out and rustled my backpack too. Having the hand phone as an 'appendage' all these years, I felt real helpless. I had no coins for the public phone and worst still I could not remember any number except that of my husband's. He has the foresight of getting simple numbers that even when the children were at pre-school, the numbers are easily remembered.
There was this lady in the seat in front of me who had earlier enquired about her flight. I responded well to her telling her to wait to be called. She was flying Firefly to Subang. I approached her for use of her phone telling her of my predicament. Without as much as a blink she handed me her phone. I made that desperate call to my husband to get him to call the hotel to check on my phone and to have it handed to my colleague still at the hotel. I prayed hard for my phone to be in the hotel room and not dropped elsewhere.
Now my other worry is yet to start. As normally the case, Saadon choose not to crowd the waiting area but wait for my call upon disembarkation. This is not to be tonight. I prayed that he might drive to the pick-up area should he not receive my call after sometimes. Alas, even after a 30 minute wait in the diesel-smoged area, he was yet to be seen.
I hate to be seen at a loss, but I was at a loss. I have to resort to another phone borrowing. Who would I approach this time? I had earlier seen two youths hanging around. They must be waiting for relatives. I braced myself for possible rejection but approached them nevertheless explaining my predicament yet again and request the use of their hand phones. One of them paused just long enough to check his phone credit and without further question just handed it to me! I again called my husband (I could not remember Saadon's number) to have him picked me up. Getting his assurance, I handed back the phone to the owner thanking them both. They refused my offer to reimburse his credit for the use of the phone. I moved back to the terminal building to be away from the diesel smog of the waiting vehicle in the pick up area.
It was way past midnight when my husband showed up and for us to reach the house close to 1 am. From my husband, I gathered that I left the phone on the counter and is now with a friend who will bring it back to me. Alhamdulillah, I couldn't be more relieved. The phone is brand new and provided by the office. Losing it means a replacement at own cost if not a surcharge! Using the numbers registered on my husband's phone, I send messages to both the phone owners thanking them. I am most relieved to have such helpful and trusting citizens who did not think twice about offering assistance, though we know of cases of people running away with phones offered for use.
Lesson learnt; check-out everything thoroughly before leaving hotel rooms, write down important numbers, and carry sufficient coins for emergency calls. One most important lesson, NEVER be judgemental of people's look or the way they dress. On normal days, I would keep away from those youths. I regretted for not even asking for their names but there is hope for they exuded trusting images and that people are generally helpful. The youth even responded to my message saying that it is his duty to help people in need and adding that there must be a reason (hikmah) for the way things happened. I know what the reasons are now. My thanks yet again, gentleman.