Finder’s Keepers is not Always the Answer


An iPhone is there in the sand where a blanket is about to be placed while unpacking the family beach bag. A lost item from the previous occupant or a passerby. Is this a matter of finder’s keepers or should it be turned over to authority to be returned to its rightful owner?

Let’s Think About This

I know you’re the finder of treasure, but do you really know what kind of treasure you may hold in your hands? That could be a lifetime of memories. Someone’s loved one. Photos of Grandma before she died last week. Or, the family dog before it was hit by the car.
When we find a treasure such as an iPhone, we all know its material value, but that phone is more than just a cell phone. It is a mini computer, a camera, a communication device. They are expensive, especially the newer models like the one in your hands. But do you know the real value of that item?


A young mother with her child had occupied your spot on the beach not too long ago. While she packed her bag, that mother was sure it was put in her purse, but her six-month-old baby boy plucked it from the bag while she continued to stow the rest of their items and trash away before leaving.

So what?

She may be a single mother. Her phone may hold all that babies pictures she has taken of him over the past six months. Stop – don’t erase that phone!
If you keep that phone, you have taken all those photos away from her.

That’s not your problem, it’s hers.

Suppose, that child is a cancer victim, or has some incurable disease and will die within the next few years. What if that child sat up on their own for the first and last time due to some neuromuscular disease? Are you going to rob that mother of all her memories of her child?

Another Scenario

A family, like your own, had occupied your spot. They lost their phone while packing. That phone has all the contact names and numbers of the family stored on that phone. Plus, of course, pictures. Once again the valuable part of the phone isn’t the phone its self, it is the photos. You wipe that phone clean, that treasure trove of photos will be gone forever. They may be the last pictures of the mother, father, or sibling they will ever have, should an accident, or sudden illness happen. Life can be swept away in the blink of an eye.

Weigh the Value in that Item Before Acting or It May Rob Memories from the current owner forever.

What if that phone had belonged to you and someone wiped it clean?
How would you feel if all your memories were gone forever?

The right thing to do

Give it back. Recharge it if you must, but please contact the owner of the phone and give it back. Your inner self will be thankful for it too. The joy the owner will show when you hand it over will be a greater reward than keeping that phone and the guilt that will be attached to those photos that are deleted.

Last thing

I do believe, that if you were not going to return it, the owner could make the phone inoperable anyways to keep their privacy and security from being breached.


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