Lost & Found: A Powerful Tale of Leading with Heart

What if we all acted from the heart first, instead of just following our initial instinct?

I was walking up the hill from an incredible workout, singing to myself with my little headphones on as I normally do. I walked briskly, needing to get to work.

It was such a lovely day outside that I was looking at the trees thinking to myself how lucky we are to live in San Diego. Suddenly, I glanced down at a tree and saw a lost cell phone near its roots. I instantly thought, “I hope I have my cell phone in my bag!” before chuckling to myself, “Ha! I’m listening to my music through it.”

After picking up the phone I started to worry, “What if someone is struggling without their phone? What if there’s an emergency??” So, I hurried home to get supplies – work would have to wait.

I grabbed about 100 pieces of paper and wrote on each one, “FOUND CELL PHONE” with my phone number in big Sharpie letters (I don’t have good handwriting as everyone knows – but I really tried to neatly.) After gathering all the supplies in my backpack, it was time to venture through the neighborhood on a mission: cover all the fire hydrants and trees in the area with these signs and find the phone’s rightful owner.

Of course, as I put up the signs, I realized the masking tape was coming unhinged from the trees! There was only one thing to do – run home to get a hammer and nails.

About an hour into hammering paper to trees, I passed a couple walking, and asked if the phone was theirs. Bewildered, they answered, “…No, but that’s really nice of you to do all this. But…what are you doing?”

I enthusiastically told them about my plan, to which they replied, “You do know that if someone calls it you can pick up the phone…right?” I said, “You’re kidding me! I didn’t know that – I’ll really be able to pick it up if it rings?!” And they looked at me like I was, well, not that bright.

But I thought about it and persisted, “Well, what if they don’t think to call it?” I kept on trekking. And then I heard it. The phone rang – and yes – I was able to answer it!

We arranged to meet nearby. This young woman ran up to me and said, “You must be Jules you must be Jules!!” Sharing in her excitement, I replied, “Yes it’s me, it’s me!” I returned her cell phone and she thanked me and was tearing up as she explained, “You just saved my sister – she’s having such a bad day and she relies on her cell phone for her job and as a single mom.”

They asked if I could stay for a minute. Her sister came out of the car with tears streaming down her face. She hugged me and tried to give me a pile of crumpled dollar bills she had scrounged together, saying it was all the money they had with them. I insisted, “Oh I don’t want your money. This is just what people should do.” It was touching that they felt the need to give me a reward. Little did they know, being able to return her phone was my reward. It brings me to tears just thinking about it.

Once the sisters drove away, the rest of the day was spent retracing my steps, pulling down every flyer I had nailed throughout half the neighborhood. And I thought to myself, “What an amazing day I’ve had.”