Wednesday, 2 February 2011

London Life: Lost item found

Last week a card was popped through my letterbox. It was from Transport for London lost property office and informed me that they had an item that I'd misplaced. It didn't reveal what it was, but it stated that there'd be a £4 restoration fee.

It took me a while to ring them because I had no idea what I'd lost. I wasn't missing anything and in spite of the Twitter suggestions of it possibly being my 'mis-spent youth' or 'dignity', I knew it was something that had my name and address on it.

Eventually this morning when I had a moment I got around to ringing the TFL.

'Do you know what it is you've lost, Madam?' the guy at the other end said after he'd gone through the formalities of establishing my identity.

'Actually no, that's the puzzling thing...'

'It's your driving license, Madam.'

I was quiet while I listened to him smile at the other end. When at last I recovered from the shock all I could say was, 'You're joking, right?'

'You didn't realise you'd lost it?'

God, I felt like a complete tool, and a blonde one at that. All I could hope for was that the same man wasn't at the office when I went to collect my licence.

While I sat in the number 13 bus on the way to the Baker Street Lost Property Office, I imagined what the office would be like. Images of a dust-filled, spiderwebbed back office came into my mind. The reality couldn't be more different. The place was modern, there were no queues, and the staff were bright and friendly. Only strange thing was that there were two counters: one where you showed your card and another one opposite where you picked up your lost property. (Why couldn't it all be done by the same person???) With relief I noted there were no men on duty; I was safe from the smiling guy on the telephone.

Happily, clutching my driving licence, I took the tube to Liverpool Street to spend the day busily tapping on my laptop at Shoreditch House. Sitting here in the Soho House bubble, I promised myself to be a little more careful with my important documents. Just imagine what would have happened if the driving licence would have ended up I the wrong hands? I shiver at the thought.

(The photo is an old Finnish passport I found at Ellis Island museum in New York.)    


Ruby Tuesday said...

God Helena you were lucky .. saying that I am not sure where mine is.. I have the card but its the paper I am not sure .. must look xx

legend in his own lunchtime said...

Things are easy lost these days, as we all have way too much clutter to wade through when trying to find cash, ID, etc. I lose my wallet at least once a month. It now finds its own way home.

Helena Halme said...

Ruby, I know I was really, really lucky. I dread to think....!

Legend, you wallet must have homing device attached? Or then there's never any cash in it? (My husband has one of those)

Christina @ Fashion's Most Wanted said...

Dear Helena, I'm glad you got it back!

My door keys have been at Baker Street lost property for six months! I must make an effort to collect them. A neighbour recently knocked on my door after finding my passport in the street! What a scatterbrain! xx

Jaana said...

How lovely that somebody was honest enough to hand it in!
Makes you sort of trust people again.

Helena Halme said...

Christina, you must be careful, because Jaana is so right...people are often NOT honest enough to hand things in, especially passports...xx