05 January 2012

Apparently, God Now Has Tech Support

So why is Danny smiling beside a Pennsylvania State Trooper?  Read on...

Hello Readers!  Mara and I are finally back from a wonderful Christmas break spent with family in Utah, and my oh my do we have a story to tell.  Some of you may have already seen our updates on Twitter yesterday as we raced from NYC to the Poconos in PA, all in an attempt to gather intel and retrieve some goods stolen during our flight home to NYC.

Well, now we're sharing the details...this story plays out at least as good as any story from Nancy Drew, The Hardy Boys, or something from the Masterpiece Mystery Theatre.  Though the tale is long, read on to see how Mara and I become a real life Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson (not sure who plays who in this story :).


The Theft

On Tuesday we had a layover in Dallas, TX.  After exiting the plane, we realized we left a leather bag behind with a laptop, iPad, and headphones.  20 minutes later, I noticed I didn't have my bag on me!  I rushed back to the gate to see if the plane had left yet.  To my relief it had not, but the gate attendant informed me no lost goods had been reported.  She immediately went to the plane to search for my items.  She came back 3 minutes later, empty handed, saying she looked everywhere.

Undeterred, I looked around and recognized one of the American Airline flight attendants that had served me water and went to ask if she'd seen anything or knew where I should begin looking.  She was very sweet as I explained the items I was missing.  She said that it's the flight attendants that clean the plane upon arrival and they didn't see anything, but said she wanted to help me if she could and marched right over to the gate attendant and asked if she could search the plane again on my behalf.  I thanked her profusely for her kindness, and told her how grateful I was to have found her...I was convinced that thing had to be on board.  I mean honestly...who bothers looking under seats as they exit a plane to see if there is anything left behind to steal, especially when it's under the window seat!  It HAD to be there. 

When the flight attendant returned empty handed, I'll admit I was a little broken-hearted.  She said the best thing I could do was continue to call the lost and found, she was sure it would turn up.  She gave me a hug as I thanked her again for searching the plane for me.  Then she said these fateful words: "I'll pray for you...If God is good, you'll get your items back."  I smiled, tapped my heart knowingly, and said "God is good, and I hope you're right."  And thanked her again. 

The Beginnings of a Miracle

I returned to the American Airlines gate attendant one more time, asking what I should do next.  She gave me some numbers to call to report to lost and found, and then looked at the flight log to see who sat behind me in case they could offer any clues.  I already knew exactly who sat behind me...it was about half a dozen Mormon Missionaries (they're pretty easy to spot based on their attire, especially considering I was one 11 years ago).  She said the party of 6 missionaries were waiting in another terminal to fly to Tallahassee, FL and that I could still catch them.  I ran as quickly as I could to their gate, found the group of missionaries, and asked if they'd seen anything.  They said they'd noticed the bag under my seat, but thought nothing of it when leaving the plane.  Then, as a group, they offered a little prayer out loud in the middle of the terminal on my behalf and asked God for a miracle!  I thanked them, wished them good luck in their future service, gave them some quick advice regarding some lessons I'd learned while walking in their shoes years ago, and left to catch my flight to NYC. 

Mara and I boarded the plane a little heavy hearted...but we also knew it's times like these that we have to put into practice everything we talk about on this blog.  I had already felt a pretty strong calm over me as I raced around, I felt like everything was going to be okay (not necessarily that I'd find my stuff again, just that in the end it didn't really matter, it was just stuff).  Mara and I were determined to bear this trial as patiently as possible.  So, as we sat in our seats on the tarmac at Dallas Fort Worth, we each whispered our own little prayers to each other.  We expressed gratitude (especially for the 1 hour delay for our next flight which allowed us to exhaust all possible leads and for the kind gate and flight attendants that helped us), explained we knew we didn't need this stuff anyway, but asked for a little help.  We prayed to be okay and at peace no matter what the outcome, we prayed that whoever had it would turn it in to lost and found or have a change of heart and return it, and we committed to let go of anger, and asked to be guided to know what to do to pursue the best possible outcome.  All things considered, I'd say we felt pretty dang good in that moment, and for the rest of the flight.  As I've said before...peace can come no matter the circumstance, especially when you choose to embrace some higher emotions of gratitude, hope, forgiveness, patience, etc.

Apparently, God Now Has Tech Support (thanks Steve Jobs! :)

While in the air, it occurred to me that with the advent of iCloud, Apple had created a nifty little App called "Find My iPhone" that works for Apple gadgets that have the app installed and turned on.  I couldn't remember if I'd turned it on for my iPad, but started checking the moment we landed. Eventually, when we returned to our apartment, I went to the iCloud Login and typed in my ID and password.

To my delight, I had indeed registered the iPad, though it couldn't be located until someone connected it to the internet.  I promptly followed instructions to lock the iPad remotely, display a message on the iPad asking someone to call me if it is found, and instructed Apple to email me the moment it connects to the internet and is located.  After such a long day, Mara and I went to bed, grateful at least for our safe return.

At 7:30 when I woke up, I checked my email and to my delight, received a message saying only 4 minutes earlier my iPad had connected to the wonderful world wide web!  I raced out of bed and to our home computer to look at the map, and to my great surprise GPS pegged a house only 88 miles away in the Poconos region of Pennsylvania.  Knowing for certain that it was stolen, I couldn't help but be amazed the thief was sort of my neighbor.  I mean come on....out of all the flights connecting out of Dallas Fort Worth, the culprit was only an hour and a half away?  What are the odds?!?

I immediately dialed the nearest police department in PA and explained that I had a GPS position on the house that had my goods and asked them to send the cops right away!!!  They explained they couldn't, they had to follow procedure and had to receive a police report from the precinct where the theft occurred.  AHHHH!  So I called up the Dallas Police department and spoke with the outstanding Officer G.  After describing the stolen goods, Officer G. patiently explained that though he understood our need for urgency, the report probably wouldn't go to a detective's attention for at least 3 days.  "3 DAYS?!?!?  But I've got the location NOW!" I explained.  He said there wasn't much he could do.  I went to the bedroom to wake Mara and give her the scoop and ask what she thought we should do.  Should we go to the house?  Can we get a police escort?  Will anyone be able to help us ASAP?  Mara felt like we should get on the road and head to the Poconos, and that we'd figure the rest out on the way.

Let the Sleuthing Begin

We hopped in the car and started driving west.  Over the next two hours, my wife called the PA Police Department and the Dallas Police asking them again & again to help expedite matters!  While we waited for him to follow up, we called the Sheriff's department, some Constables, ANYONE that might have info on the neighborhood and advice for how to handle the situation.  Some said go knock on the door, most suggested waiting and letting the police take care of it.  Though we wanted to drive right to the door and ask them to return the items and we wouldn't press charges, we both agreed that doing so was waaay too risky!

Danny talking to a local to get info on the neighborhood (like... do a lot of people here own guns?)

Since the GPS showed us the home, but didn't give us the address, we decided to gather more intel while waiting for some movement from the Dallas Police.  On some adrenaline high, we somewhat crazily drove past the home to see what the neighborhood was like and figure out the next move.  Our first pass we correctly identified the home.  After driving some way down before turning around (we didn't want to look suspicious :), we came back to find that someone had just come home!!!  They were in the car in the driveway!!! AHHHHH!!! KEEEP DRIVING!!!  We committed the house number and license plate to memory, and found somewhere to pull over and consider our next move.  Talk about an adrenaline rush.


To Catch a Thief



We arrived at the Swiftwater Police Department 15 minutes later and introduced ourselves.  I think they kind of thought we were a little crazy to drive out there and get the ball rolling (and I suppose we were). But, soon enough they were listening to our story and reviewing our evidence and the list of possessions stolen.  By now, because of my wife's persistence, Detective Tallant of Dallas had actually called the PA Police and provided his report.  BAM!  Within minutes of our arrival,  Troopers Carito and Felsman were dispatched to the house, and we sat and waited, after of course asking the Troopers if we could come along for the ride...they said no and that we'd have to live vicariously through them. :)

The Troopers get the details on the stolen goods and explain their plan of action

Within about 30 minutes, Sergeant Diana came out to tell us the items had been recovered and the Troopers would be returning shortly with the woman and my bag full of my tech goodies!!!  We couldn't believe it!  The Sergeant explained it was an older woman who claimed she "didn't trust American Airlines to properly return the goods, and had tried calling Apple to locate the owner."  I guess she didn't see the big message on the iPad saying, "Call me if you have my iPad, I have important notes and am willing to offer a reward." :)

Book 'em Danno! (A Thief Revealed)

We considered dropping all charges....until the officers escorted in a woman in handcuffs.  It turns out, IT WAS THE AMERICAN AIRLINES FLIGHT ATTENDANT FROM OUR PLANE!!!!!  You can't imagine our disbelief.  It was the same flight attendant who went back to the plane to search for my missing goods, the same flight attendant who told me she'd pray for me, the same flight attendant who hugged me saying in those unbelievably ironic words "If God is good, you'll get your items back."


I'll be returning to PA sometime in the near future to actually face this woman and testify in court.  This was an American Airlines Flight Attendant, someone paid and trusted to serve the interests of those traveling (we paid $1600 for those tickets!).  Had she done this before?  Would she do it again?  In this case, I absolutely have to pursue Justice.  I must admit, I hold no malice in my heart for her, only pity.  It is truly sad that she could lie right to my face about the whole thing. 

THANK YOUS:
  • Mara - never once did she express frustration at me for being tired and careless and leaving behind my stuff.  Instead she was kind, patient, loving, and the perfect sleuthing companion.
  • Gate Attendant - For helping me pursue all possible avenues. 
  • Missionaries - For actually praying for me out loud in the middle of the Dallas Airport Terminal.
  • Steve Jobs - Boy did I hit the jackpot with that App!  Thanks Steve for making it so easy to find my missing gear!
  • Swiftwater PD call taker - thanks for all the help and pushing us in the right direction, and patiently explaining how we needed to get things done (even though we really just wanted you to go knock their door down :)
  • Officer G. of the Dallas Police - Extremely helpful during our multiple calls, responded immediately to emails, as kind and professional as you could ask for, and helped expedite what would have taken 3 days.
  • Detective Tallant - Jumped on our case ASAP and called to make sure he could help in anyway, making sure to get the reports to the Swiftwater PD so they could move!
  • Troopers Carito and Felsman - You guys rocked it!  I'm grateful for your passion in pursuing justice.  We look forward to helping you close the case!
  • Sergeant Diana - Thank you giving us the best news we could imagine.  You and your entire team were wonderful and deserve all the appreciation Mara and I can possibly muster!
  • ALL OUR READERS - ARE YOU GUYS STILL READING THIS THING??....SORRY IT'S SO LONG!

106 comments:

  1. WOW! Just WOW! Did she see you at the police station? I would have loved to see her face if she did. Amazing. Way to pursue it!

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  2. Wow!!! That's crazy!!! I can't believe it was the flight attendant!! Glad u got your stuff back. :-)

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  3. My mouth has just dropped open reading this. What a story!

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  4. I love this blog, make it easy to read and ease the mind.

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  5. Way to go!! I can't beleive she took it! I hope she gets the justice she deserves!

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  6. Wow! It is amazing that you were able to get back your stuff! Curious- Has American Airlines been notified? If not, are you planning on notifying them?

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  7. I have loved following this on twitter and FB and am so glad you wrote the full story here. It is just an amazing story!

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  8. Nice! I was hoping to get "the rest of the story" today! I'm so glad you got your stuff back and it truly is a miracle that this all went down so smoothly considering how much red tape, etc. could have been involved when dealing with 2 different police departments. Great to hear that you are not withholding forgiveness for the woman, yet still following through with pursuing justice - this is the way it is supposed to work! What a great message. You guys rock.

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  9. Best. Story. Ever.
    You guys are awesome!

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  10. GREAT STORY! The look on your face in the last photo is priceless. I'm so glad you are pressing charges. I have zero sympathy for this woman and believe she deserves the burden of law for committing such a crime. God IS good and thank you for sharing your traveling miracle.

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  11. wow! shocking ending. I wasn't expecting that. how shameful that she would speak of God and hug you all the while knowing SHE had stolen your stuff!

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  12. This could be an awesome Saved by the Bell episode, like the one where they find the money in the mall and have to sleep there and hide in the tent.

    Glad you found your lost items.

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  13. What a crazy story! I am so happy that you were able to get your belongings back. It's hard to imagine that someone would blatantly lie to you, even mentioning God!
    I tend to trust people and believe that everyone has good intentions. It's not always the case... but this story still leaves me with a happy feeling and believing that generally, people are good. Just look at your list of thank yous :)

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  14. Wow!!!! So glad you recovered your items! Totally shocked by the blatant dishonesty of people these days.

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  15. I find it really disillusions my view of life when people can lie like this. I know it happens, but same as when I've found that supposed friends have lied to my face, it just hurts me that people can do this - I always take people at face value, feel like a total idiot who is being laughed at when you discover how easily some people can lie.

    I'm so glad you got your things back and well done you that you are going to ensure that you follow it through.

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  16. Crazy! I actually gasped out loud when you said it was the flight attendant! So glad you were able to retrieve your items. It's a frustrating thing to misplace/forget and so glad (and amazed!) that you both were able to stay positive!

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  17. BTW - My name really is "Mara" but you say it "Mair-ah" (like "marathon") :)

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  18. What a great story and happy ending! I really received a message in this story that I was needing (and didn't even realize I needed it) - "We prayed to be okay and at peace no matter what the outcome" and "we committed to let go of anger, and asked to be guided to know what to do to pursue the best possible outcome". Those are statements/prayers that I can put into practice in my everyday life. Thanks Danny for taking the time to share you and Mara's story. Blessings to you both~

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  19. This is a crazy story. To be honest, when i started reading the post I kinda had a feeling that is was the attendant. And i think it's ok to take this to court. Innocent people pay tons of money to airlines to then be stolen from by their own attendants, it's kinda sad. Fight for Justice Danny.

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  20. Awesome story!! So glad you pursued justice so this woman will be punished. Wow! See- God IS GOOD!!

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  21. OH MY GOSH! That was AWESOME! How sad. I pity her too. I bet she felt like such a fool when she saw you at the station. If she could do it like that, she definitely has done it before and would do it again. Wow. I'm glad justice will be served, but saddened that there are people out there that can do such things. What a rad story. Way to go Steve Jobs!

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  22. Oh my good lord! I cannot believe this story...that is such a twist! It baffles me that a woman could just flat out lie to your face like that. I am trying really hard not to judge people anymore because you never know what they have gone through but damn, it's hard in these circumstances. I think you're right to push through with the charges because this might be the rock bottom she needs to get her life right, ya know? This could help her in ways that nothing else could...let's hope so anyway. She definitely needs some prayers sent her way.

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  23. What a crazy story! So glad you got your stuff back!!

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  24. WOW! What a story...unbelievable...people amaze me. As I always say, lying will get you nowhere (well, this time, possibly jail and lose your job)! I am going staight hom eto make sure I have that ipad app installed! Thanks for sharing!

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  25. This is awesome.
    Also, for anyone looking for similar solutions, install Prey. It's available for ios, Mac, PC, Linux...
    http://preyproject.com/

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  26. LOL! I LOVE that you drove to PA. And that flight attendant clearly needed to be caught. I'm sure you went to all that effort for her benefit.

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  27. wow, this is astounding! so exciting to read the whole ordeal.

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  28. Holy crap. This is an insane-o story. I'm glad you got it back. Good job on the citizen justice routine. That is rad.

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  29. Amazing story, for multiple reasons!

    You're absolutely right that forgiving and holding no malice in your heart is completely compatible with also pursuing justice. You're doing her heart a favor by making her face the consequences of her actions. If she loses her job, I hope she's able to find another one, and that she turns around. If she was driven to this by desperate circumstances, I hope they improve. But it's hard to believe that's the reason she did it, because you can perpetrate a theft like this without hugging the victim and invoking God to their face. That's a little eerie!

    My favorite comment so far was the one saying that this would make a great Saved by the Bell episode. Yep, that's the first thought that came to my mind, too. ;-D

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  30. What? I am in disbelief at the outright dishonesty. And doesnt the airport have a security system that limits what workers bring in and take home with them? I guess she can steal anything from the airport and no one would know. This is beyond me. So glad you guys are safe. God is indeed good.

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  31. Shades of Warden Samuel Norton and his bible: "Truth [indeed] lies within."

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  32. Oh my goodness! This story was awesome. I cannot believe it was the flight attendant. Didn't see that one coming at all.

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  33. Too funny! My sister-in-law Suzan Hollist sent me this link! What a crazy story, but it seems like the flight attendant doesn't quite believe that God is good-luckily you do!

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  34. Another way to pursue justice is to report her to American Airlines.

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  35. Better than a made-for-TV movie!

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  36. A friend sent me this link. Amazing! So glad that God is Good.

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  37. LOVE it.

    The thing is, this woman doesn't know who she was dealing with...most likely you guys will find a way to love her to death and help her turn her dishonest, lying life around. I actually feel very pleased for her...this could be a turning point in her cynical life.

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  38. Ah hahahaha.... You guys kill me. Mara and her persistence. This story is gold, pure gold. Nancy Drew in deed.

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  39. Absolutely amazing story!! My jaw dropped and dropped again!

    I flew American through Dallas not two days ago. After connecting to another flight out of Paris, I lost a diamond ring on that flight, and my friend jokingly said, "The stewardess stole it!" I haven't been able to get through to the lost and found at our destination airport yet, but this leaves me feeling pretty hopeless! (I do feel oddly calm, however, including feeling calm about the suitcase American lost with all my kids' Christmas presents in it that they had gotten). Hmm. THanks for this truly cool story with a super happy ending!

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  40. Steve Jobs--genius! Love you blog and I hope your story gets picked up by a larger audience. Thank you for sharing.

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  41. Danny, from this light you somewhat resemble David Duchovny...

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  42. Awesome! Hopefully she'll get permanently fired and I can go up 1 number in seniority! But more than likely, she'll get her job back.

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  43. so glad you got reunited with your bag. What a story!!! way to go you guys!

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  44. I'm a friend of Aaron's and read your story via the link on Facebook. Wow! What a great story! It was also written so well -- like a crime drama! I couldn't stop reading it! Loved the outcome -- so happy for you and your wife!

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  45. my husband was appalled by this story (he frequents the airlines often). He had to post on flyer talk, because really...this is not okay:)

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  46. Oh my word- I saw this story on the news today and can NOT believe its y'all! I jsut figured I'd check in on our blog and BAM! there the story was. I basically feel like a celebrity by association... which is ridiculous. So glad you got your stuff back!

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  47. I really thought it was going to be the Mormons, personally.

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  48. My daughter, Kerry, posted this on FB.

    Sooo happy for your recovery. I am an iMac and iPhone convert and need to get educated on this iCloud stuff and you've made me a more ardent convert.

    I once helped "solve" a theft from Macy's Dept. Store by following a car that was throwing small Ralph Lauren tags out the car window. My kids called me Sherlock Holmes.

    What an intriguing story. Just wondering......... did you give the Airline Flight Attendant a "Pass Along Card?" LOL

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  49. what a crazy ending! she deserves what's coming to her. it probably wasn't the first time.

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  50. crazy! crazy! crazy! adrienne martin relayed this story to slade & i last night. i made her tell it twice because i just couldn't believe. she did a good job telling it, but left out some details i was dying to know.

    so thanks for telling it in your own words and not leaving out the juicy details. love it!

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  51. I hate to say it, but i thought it was the flight attendant from the start! Just glad you persevered & had both temporal & spiritual helpers rooting for you!

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  52. Wow, that was I great story. I'm glad everything was recovered. I too thought that the Flight Attendance took it, however, when you mentioned on how close the person lived, the thought that it was the flight attendance disappeared from my mind.

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  53. Awesome story! I am sure the flight attendant was mortified to see your face again!

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  54. And she would have gotten away with it too, if it weren't for you meddling kids!

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  55. Amazing how everyone on here just assumes the lady was not going to return it...no faith in ppl anymore. SMH

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  56. Anonymous - While I appreciate your general faith in humanity (a faith which I share)the facts in this case just don't add up to support your defense.

    Some extra details...if she was going to return my goods, would she throw out every ounce of paper that personally identified me in my bag (searching through every single pocket and zipper to make sure all receipts, work papers, and luggage tags were gone), would she have deleted all my emails off the iPad before she connected to the internet and I was able to lock it remotely?

    She wasn't planning on giving it back, before I stopped her by locking it remotely she was in the process of deleting any trace of me from the iPad and every shred of identification in my bag.

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    1. Amazing story!I What happened to the flight attendant and do you have a picture you can share? I think I may know her and am very dissapointed to read your story, although it was written very well.

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  57. Ok. I'm glad you got your stuff back, but as a former Mormon, isn't forgiveness suppose to be there somewhere?? Shouldn't you be able to let go and let God.. etc, etc. She's fired, you got your stuff back, why press charges now? Is your life that meaningless and boring that you feel you have to pursue this? Or is it your ego that drives you with your mini-celebrity status?? Drop it. Time to move on.

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  58. Wow! An amazing story! So glad you got your stuff book. And I agree that the AA agent must be prosecuted. This person no doubt has stolen before and would likely do so again. I believe you are not only seeing justice done but perhaps helping her save her own soul by shaking her from the fog of sin.

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  59. To the blogger, Anonymous, who posted just before me - I think this perpetrator may just need to be prosecuted in order to help her change and walk a straighter path in her life. I think Danny can forgive her, but at the same time help her. If charges are dropped she'll just feel like she "got away" with something again.

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  60. It's not Danny;s job or anyone else's for that matter, to "help her change and walk a straighter path..." or as Rich said, " helping her save her own soul by ... from the fog of sin.." That's for her to do and her alone... He [Danny] is obviously taken by himself for being able to track down the merchandise. Again, I say, let it go..move on with your life...

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  61. Anonymous - I respect your opinion. I guess maybe we view forgiveness slightly differently. For me - forgiveness is a state of being and doesn't depend on wrongs being righted. Forgiveness is where you choose to be personally. I hold no malice/hatred/etc towards her, I don't and won't walk around with a grudge toward her, neither would I have done so if the thief had never been caught.

    I also don't think that forgiveness and accountability are mutually exclusive.

    I'm not angry with her, and I'm not doing this out of vengeance. And I don't yet know if she's lost her job. On another forum, frequent flyers are saying it's not unusual for the union to defend and protect criminal flight attendants.

    Also, according to news reports, the woman already had an outstanding warrant.

    I respect that in your case you wouldn't press charges. I was seriously considering that myself. Until I realized who it was and how easily she lied to my face, how quickly she worked to destroy any evidence of my previous ownership of those goods, and that she was willing to lie to the officers who came to her house. Obviously I don't know for certain, but that suggests a pattern that merits the woman stand accountable.

    Thanks for your comment.

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  62. I find that when people post anonymously that they are being cowards. It's easy to say hurtful things when you are not held accountable for your comment. How about you take accountability and post as you are instead of hiding behind anon. You are name calling (mini-celebrity) and saying it has something to do with his ego etc. Who are you to judge Danny's intentions? If you think this about this couple, then don't read it and find some reading that will inspire you to be better and to be kind. I'm all about sharing opinions and pointing things out, but name calling is not effective or kind. Also, stop hiding behind anonymous. Your words lose credibility.

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  63. I just can say: Are you going to write a book about this event or is it coming next summer to a theater near me? Great writing! =)

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  64. Well said, Danny. Thanks again for taking the time to write the story. I'll be sharing it around the water cooler all week ("I read this blog this weekend...")!

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  65. How about everyone saying a prayer for this Flight Attendant,we all know what she did was wrong and she has to answer to God not us, he will be her judge and jury. remember Danny what you got back is exactly that STUFF. what we yake to God in prayer is all that matters. As i write i am on my knees and i will pray for her and for you and your wife.

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  66. craaaazzyy!!! Did she see you guys?

    I find it interesting that she mocked God by actually being the thief but pretending that she was kind and helpful by saying to you "if God is good you will get your stuff back"
    ... hmmm she must be convinced by now that He is good. you got your stuff back after all, I bet she never imagined that this would happen when she said those words.

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  67. by the way you guys are truly an example of how to handle these types of situations. thanks

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  68. My favorite line: "AHHHHH!! KEEP DRIVING!!!!"

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  69. Most recent Anon - It's possible you or others think otherwise, but the truth is I agree with you and appreciate your prayers for her and for me and my wife. You and others have reminded me that I will need them as I try to determine the best way forward, as I'm sure will she. Thanks.

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  70. I must say, very well done sleuthing! Thank you for sharing your experience with prayer. I also have come to know that "God is Good." Its also inspiring to hear about someone who "took life by the horns!"

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  71. I thought your story was cool, thanks for sharing it. Something irked me about it though, your blog is called a "blog about love," maybe consider changing it to truth and consequences, just kidding. The thing that irks me is the way you say you hold no malice towards this individual yet you are going to prosecute. I would never say that because I think being angry about it is perfectly human and that to prosecute to help this person would not be a realistic reason. It makes your righteous intent seem fake.

    In today's priesthood lesson G.A Smith said “I would not knowingly wound the feelings of any, not even one who may have wronged me, but would seek to do him good and make him my friend."

    Also Jesus said to the woman taken in adultery, let he who is without sin first cast a stone.

    There are 2 kinds of prosecution civil and criminal. Your civil prosecution means she offended you. Letting the law criminally prosecute means you are willing to let justice take it's course on her. Just my $.02, glad you got your stuff back, technology is great.

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  72. Correction; Jesus said to the Pharisees about the woman taken in adultery, let he who is without sin first cast a stone.

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  73. @Chris, I must say, I am unsure of your intentions here. On the one hand, I can see how you may feel that you have a valid point, and that it should be shared. On the other hand, I feel like you are simply trying to cause contention. Here is my reasoning: Anyone who has read this blog knows that these two people are truly two of the most loving people anyone could ever get to know. Therefore, you either feel so strongly about your feelings that you are willing to overlook that fact, or you inexplicably feel the need to point out someone else's flaws in an effort to seem noble. Either way, to me it seems like your endeavors to point out that this post was misguided makes your comment just that: misguided. Just a thought...

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  74. Chris - I appreciate your insight on this and think you make some good points. I've explained elsewhere, but maybe not here.

    "I feel no malice" - I definitely had some feelings of major shock that someone did take my stuff. But after I had gone back to the gate and had people search the plane and followed up with the people behind me...I realized I was probably never going to see it again and decided to let go of it emotionally right then and there. Once I found I could track it, more than anything I just wanted my stuff back (not because of the stuff per se, but because of the important notes I had on my ipad, and the loads of work I had on my laptop). I still wasn't angry, just anxious to reach someone before they did something with it (I didn't know if they were going to sell it, trash it, move it, wipe it....I needed to move fast because it certainly didn't seem like they were going to respond to my message to call me). I'm literally not angry with the person that took my things. If I felt comfortable knocking on the door to ask for them, I would have, and I would have left saying thank you. But I couldn't risk that. Even when the cops went there and before I knew who it was, I was entirely prepared to dismiss charges and happily drive home with my stuff. At which point I still would have written a post, but it would have been about how awesome the technology is that helped me find my iPad and laptop, and less about the irony of the words said to me.

    "I'm pursuing justice" - the main reason it seems important to me to do something about this is because of the position of trust the woman had. If it was a passenger, pursuing anything would seem like a waste of time. But it wasn't, the person who had my goods works for the airlines in a position of trust. If I do nothing and press no charges, does that mean "nothing actually happened" and that person returns to their job like normal?

    Honestly, if it were me, I wish this post was only about me using technology to track down my goods and get them back. That alone would have been exciting all by itself. By the nature of those involved, unfortunately it requires more decisions than I want to have to make. Believe me.

    Pursuing justice isn't about getting her back from something she did to me...I have my stuff, there isn't much more restitution she can offer me. It's about the position someone might be in to do it to others. As I consider what I'm supposed to do, that is the main reason I feel inclined to see it through.

    Thank you for the quote you shared. Those are wise words to consider, you've certainly made me think about how I will proceed and I appreciate the advice. Best, Danny

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  75. Anon - I appreciate you sticking up for me, and I appreciate your regard for what Mara and I try to do on this blog. Thank you very much.

    I also understand where Chris or others may be coming from. It seems like a lot of people have been sharing this post on facebook...which means there are a lot of visitors for whom this may be the only post they'll ever read. It would be nice if they read all the other posts that are a lot more meaningful, but since many won't, I can understand why they'd have a greater skepticism towards whatever I've written.

    I value Chris's feedback because it reminds me that I always need to be more careful with how I word things or what attitude I'm projecting through my writing.

    I hope Chris and others choose to not just read the exciting/cool-story post...but poke around to find out why it is called A Blog About Love. Hopefully doing so will help him understand that I meant what I said in the comment above. It sounds like Chris has very good motives to me. Besides, if Chris is right and my words have indeed been unkind/unjust, I will have to find a way to remedy that.

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  76. Such an incredible story! I was completely absorbed in it and loved that justice prevailed in the end. Plus, you and your wife met some extraordinary people along the way. Great work everybody!

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  77. God is good! And showed that flight attendant for using His name wrongfully... I'm not too sure the judge is going to like her when he/she hears how she hugged you and all.

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  78. GREAT story, and I'm so glad you got your stuff back! I also agree that forgiveness and accountability do not go hand in hand. You have every right to press charges!!

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  79. Wow! Wow and WOW!!! You guys need to start publishing these stories...I mean, seriously.

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  80. Hi Danny, did you get to see the woman ?

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  81. Yeah, I'd love to know if she saw you when she was brought in.

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  82. Not sure exactly if she looked right at us when she came in because she was wearing sunglasses...so it was hard to tell. But we were the only two people in a tiny lobby area when the cops brought her in so she really couldn't miss us. They walked right by us and into another door. It happened fast.

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  83. Great story and thanks for sharing. There are so many good people to interact with along the way even in a bad situation. I left my iPad on a Southwest flight last week and before I got to my car, the flight attendants had figured out who I was (by looking into the iPad info) and called me. It was waiting for me at the baggage office. Thank you to the honest flight attendants. :-)

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  84. wow!! we had our truck stolen a year ago. it was found the next day when someone reported it as illegally parked. the neighbor of the home where it was found told the officer she saw the next door neighbor get out of the truck that morning. we had to ask the officer to go knock on the door of the home where the truck was found [the police asked us to come pick up the vehicle so we were on-site for this] so he finally did. the woman in that house claimed the suspect wasn't home so the officer left a message for the guy to give the police a call. yeah. as far as i know, they're still waiting for the return phone call. :P

    at least we got our truck back and promptly sold it! it actually was a little struggle, though, knowing where the thief lived and what we could do with that information...

    anyway, all that to say it's so great you got EVERYTHING back!!!

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  85. Hi, Danny just wondering, did she try to erase anything from your Ipad or laptop? you also mention that you had work documents. Did you get those back? I'm just amazed at what people do.
    Glad you got your items back.

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    1. Hey anon, I never did get my personal documents back, and yes, some stuff was deleted off my iPad. My laptop seems untouched, but it was password protected so that's no surprise I suppose. Glad I got it back too, and glad I was able to get right back to work serving the kids of NYC. The thing that made me most sad about the theft wasn't the stuff itself, it was all the information on my laptop I need to work effectively and didn't want to spend weeks to recreate. Thank goodness I only had 24 hours without :)

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  86. Just found your blog and I'm already hooked! This was an awesome story and you're a fantastic writer. I don't think you're being "contentious" or holding a grudge by pressing charges. If you just let it go away, she could do it to someone else. I would have done the same thing. Good luck and I'm so glad I found your blog!

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  87. oh my gosh!! haha! this story is sooo awesome. It sounds like the flight attendant was cynical about God and was saying you would get your stuff back if God is good because since SHE had it, she THOUGHT you would not get it back, therefore, in her mind, God would then be NOT good. I wonder if, after you got your stuff back, she thought about what she had said to you.

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  88. Great story Danny, what's next a movie script? hope so... I'll go watch the movie!!! One question, did the police say she already had a bench warrant for her arrest. She probably had a prior record. Hope her next employer does a background check on her.
    Hope all is well. God bless.

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  89. She took the Lord's name in vain, literally.
    I'm one of those who immediately suspected the flight attendant (from years of experience working with the public and being lied to, to my face; oh the stories I could tell). Although most people are fundamentally (if not invariably) honest, she had the greatest opportunity. It just seemed to make sense.
    Understanding the difference between forgiveness and trust is fundamental. I completely believe your assertion that you bear the woman no malice, but have been inspired that allowing her to be accountable is the most loving response. Although some people seek personal revenge through the justice system, that's not its purpose (which is, however, to attempt to protect or justify victims). Nor are there any guarantees that the outcome will be what one desires. Letting the justice system follow its course doesn't necessarily mean a person is seeking personal revenge, but in fact, instead, helps makes it possible for victims to distance themselves from seeking personal revenge.

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  90. People need to be accountable for their actions. Good for you. Best of all, what a GREAT story! I had been missing my Nancy Drew fix until now! Love it!

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  91. This is an incredibly cool story.

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  92. I would start your own detective agency right away.

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  93. WOW! I cannot not believe that one person could be so duplicitous! It is shocking to me that she could pretend to help you, hug you, talk about God when she stole it. Although, I did not like how she said, "If God is good you'll get your stuff back." That did bother me. God IS good. We may not always like his plans. They may test us and stretch us and make us feel pain, but He is good...all the time.

    I am so glad that this ended well for you. And I think you definitely need to prosecute. Otherwise she would continue to hurt others. Our God is a just God.

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  94. Hi Danny, just heard from the great vine that she got her job back, do you know anything about this? Is she facing any criminal charges?

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  95. I think this is the most amazingly awesome story EVER!...and you are a very good example of how to act in a stressful situation.

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  96. Hi Danny great story, sounds like a plot for a movie, any updates for your readers regarding the person involved?

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  97. Wow, what an amazing story! Way to persevere! It sounds like you and your wife are amazing people. It's really so sad this lady lied to your face. I'm glad she was caught!
    Loved your post!

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  98. Thank you for pursuing this through the justice system. It makes me feel just a teeny, tiny bit safer when flying. It would have been terrible to let this women go with no formal consequences, essentially enabling her to continue stealing from future passengers. And perhaps news of her story will deter other employees from stealing in the future. It's especially disgusting when people in positions of trust and/or power take advantage of those positions.

    I don't understand why people are being critical of your decision to pursue justice formally. It's pretty basic that it's wrong to commit theft and that it's against the law. And such an egregious violation of this certainly should have consequences that protect the public.

    I'd be curious to read a follow-up blog post about what happened.

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  99. Oddly, and unpredictably, this post helped me MORE THAN ANY OTHER POST ON YOUR BLOG with understanding CONCRETELY how to be a better partner and have more healthy relationships.

    This was like a (good) slap in the face: "Mara - never once did she express frustration at me for being tired and careless and leaving behind my stuff. Instead she was kind, patient, loving, and the perfect sleuthing companion."

    I've read all of your blog posts about how to work on one's self, how to gain self worth, and how to be a better partner. I barely get anything from most of them. They are so vague. I can't wrap my head around what Mara is talking about and how she made personal transformations. The information is so fluffy and intangible.

    This post was a "light bulb moment" for me. I realized that I am 100% certain that I would have nagged and put down my boyfriend if he'd forgotten his bag on a plane. I would have been so annoyed with him for losing such valuable things. It NEVER would have occurred to me to NOT get upset at him. This post was such a useful and specific example of a better, healthier way to react. And it was specific - a model I can use for future interactions. More posts like this that illustrate small, concrete actions in daily life would be useful.

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