Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Saga of the Cell Phone, Pt. 1 (or GPS Saves My Wallet)

As some of you know through my rants on facebook and Jessi's blog, a punk at Jamie's school broke into his locker and stole his cell phone and thumb drive. The thumb drive wasn't such a big deal for two reasons: 1) it didn't have any current assignments on it; 2) it cost me less than $10 at wally-world. The cell phone, though, that was a MAJOR deal. It's brand new. He's had it less than a month. And it would cost me $249.99 to replace it. No, that isn't what I paid for it. I got it for free because it was time to renew his contract. But if I had to replace it, it would cost me the aforementioned astronomical sum.

Luckily, I pay $5/mo. for GPS tracking on his cell phone. I've gotten flack from some quarters about my "big brother" tendencies to have to keep an eye on my son at all times, keeping him honest through control and not trust, etc., etc. Whatever your opinion about my choice to GPS track my son through his cell phone (and really, I have my own perfectly good reasons and don't particularly want to hear your opinion if you disagree with me), it saved me the expense of having to cancel his phone account and getting a new one. Because literally within a minute of Jamie calling me in hysterics from the school office, I knew the location of his phone within 12 YARDS. I was then able to keep refreshing the signal trace and watch on a map as the phone traveled away from Jamie's school. It wasn't moving too quickly, so I knew it was with a person who was on foot and not in a car or bus. It was also pretty close to the school still, so I knew a student who was walking home from school had it in his or her hot little thieving hands. While I was on the phone with Jamie, I had him tell the secretary to radio the campus police that I knew exactly where the phone was. Unfortunately, I was told they couldn't do anything about it because the phone was no longer on school property.

Just before all this bruhaha erupted, my friend Xena* (name changed to protect the innocent) called me to tell me I didn't need to pick up her boy Bobby* (again, name changed to protect the innocent) after school in that day's car pool. Bobby had had his locker broken into that day and he wasn't feeling well, so she was on her way to the school to pick him up and take him home. I immediately called Xena and asked her if she could do me a big favor, then explained the situation to her. I was at work and couldn't leave, but could she retrieve the phone for me? She said she'd call me back once she had picked up Bobby.

In the meantime, I texted Jamie's cell with the following message: "This cell phone does not belong to you. GIVE IT BACK!" Which was, of course, ignored. My attempts to call the phone were ignored, as well.

Xena called me back, and I was able to keep refreshing the GPS signal in order to tell her exactly what address the phone was at, even down to what side of the street it was on. She pulled up to that location and said that there was one student walking down the street, so she figured it would have to be him. While still on the phone with me, Xena got out of her vehicle and approached the kid. "Excuse me. How many cell phones do you have?" she asked. I heard a muffled reply of "Two." She responded, "Okay, so give me the blue one that doesn't belong to you." Considering she couldn't see the cell phones when she said this, I imagine it scared the little twerp a bit, and he handed it over.

Xena then gave a speech that would have made any mom stand on her chair and cheer. Xena informed the boy (and I'm paraphrasing here because it's been three days and I've slept since then) that he was too young to be messing up his life by stealing, exhorted him not to throw away his life, and basically gave him a well-deserved tongue lashing I hope the kid never forgets in his life. She then got back in her vehicle and took the cell phone home for me to pick up later that day.

However, the story doesn't end there! Tune in next time for the lie of the century, a thief who can't keep his story straight, and a mother who condones such act(s) from her child(ren).... in "The Saga of the Cell Phone, Pt. 2 (or EPIC Parenting Fail)"!

2 comments:

Jessi said...

I'm all about the GPS. I'd get it on Bob's if he'd let me. I'm a control freak and I NEED to know that I can get to people. Even if they are laying on the side of the road dead, and as such, cannot answer their phone.

Lydia Brown said...

When your child is still a child, under 18, I am ALL for being able to track him with GPS. You never know when something worse than having his cellphone stolen might happen. As an educator, it can be a nuisance to have children with cell phones at school, but if they can keep them in their lockers, desks or backpacks and wait until after school to use them, I'm all for it. I like the idea of a "latch key" kid being able to call their parent/s on the way home from school and talk to them until they are safe and sound at home. You go girl! Can't wait to hear the rest of the story!