New York – Day 7 of 7: Me? A Hero?

11 May

I think today might have been the first time in my life that a totally random group of strangers has applauded (non-ironically) something I’ve done. For ironic applause, you just have to ask me about my grade 8 ski trip to Camp Fortune. But that’s for another time – today’s story is about what went down just after 17:00 this evening.

Two weeks ago I obtained a ticket to see a taping of Last Week Tonight with John Oliver in New York City and (in keeping with standard event lining up protocol) I arrived at the studio an hour early in an attempt to try and secure a seat close to the front. So just before they were about to let us in, I was standing on West 57th Street chatting with one of the other contestants when I heard an unmistakable sound.


The lineup

A sound so horrible, no one ever at any time has ever wanted to hear it. Ever.

I immediately turned to look and across the street a woman was speeding by on her bicycle and her mobile phone had fallen off her person and was sliding along the road behind her. Glass and plastic scratched and scraped on the disgusting New York asphalt.

By the time my brain had processed the situation she was out of earshot and there was no calling her back. I had to make a split decision. Do I go for it and try and recover the phone and catch her? Or do I just take my time, go get the phone, and if it still works sell it try and contact the owner?

Everyone else in the line just stood there, motionless, and did nothing as this tragedy unfolded before their eyes. It was going to be up to me.

Seeing as I have both a recurring nightmare about losing my own phone and a reckless disregard for my well being, I bolted from the safety of the front third of the line and ran face first into New York City traffic to try and rescue the fallen phone.

Compounding the danger was the fact that 57th is one of only a few streets in New York that supports bidirectional traffic. I somehow made it to the other side without getting run over and quickly scooped up the phone. It’s owner was about a hundred metres away and had slowed down for a red light at 11th Ave. This was my chance!

I took off down the road at full speed. Which, to be honest, is not very fast. When I was about twenty metres away and almost out of breath I thought the light was going to change so I yelled,

“Hey! Hey lady! You dropped your phone!”

She turned around and I coasted the last few metres with her gold Samsung Galaxtar or whatever the hell they’re called held forth in my sweaty hands. In a span of about three seconds her expression changed from confusion to shock to disbelief to gratitude. She barely had time to thank me before I was off to get back in line to see John Oliver – I didn’t want to miss the show.


It still works! 

As I approached the lineup of showguests, they spontaneously gave me a standing ovation for my effort.

Ok, they were already standing. And they had plenty of time to organize something for my return. But they did clap.

My mission successfully completed, I returned to talking with Megyn, and tried to act all casual like it was no big deal. But secretly, I was really pleased with myself.

The End

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