I'm disgusted with myself and feel awful.
Why, I keep asking.
At the airport awaiting my plane I did some work.
Two PCs down a gentleman, besuited, with brief case was wrapping up.
Minutes later a woman, a journalist from Singapore sat next to me.
Someone asked her if she'd left her phone. I looked up. She shrugged her shoulders unconcerned.
I looked down again.
Minutes later someone else was at the terminal. I looked up to see whether it was the man whom earlier I'd caught a glimpse.
Truth I wouldn't be able to ID him, but the other man now seated was of a different nationality and his paper I noticed was resting on the phone.
A paragraph later, I looked up and he was gone and so was the phone.
I felt sick. He had just taken a phone.
Had he handed it in?
I'm not sure, but the paper over the phone, in hindsight, looked a good decoy to lift it.
I was pretty mad with myself.
Why didn't I pick it up?
Perhaps the lady to my left and whether she might think I was about to lift the phone?
Perhaps I hadn't thought swiftly enough?
I looked around for the thief; he'd gone.
Moments later, on the adjacent PC, this time a passport and ticket had been left behind
This time I wasn't taking any chances and duely picked it up and handed it to a nearby booth.
Seconds later a man appeared hovering around the PC looking for his phone.
I felt even more gutted and admitted to him: "I'm really sorry, but I think your phone's been stolen and I more or less saw what happened".
I'm not sure he understood me.
But all I could think was his contacts, all his work in that phone were now in the possession of someone else who had no use for them, other than changing the chip on a shiny flash-looking new phone.
Frankly I can't understand such actions and I'm more than certain, if a situation arose like that again, I'd take immediate action.
The other man got his Passport back. I saw him hug the booth salesperson and afforded myself a wry, but ultimately unsatisfying smile.