It’s being hailed as an epic tale of faraway adventure and valiant gamesmanship. The kind of fantasy fiction made popular by the master of medieval lore, George R.R. Martin. Except, this story was penned, or rather posted, by a Bay Area investment banker, whose real life fable began with a very mundane mishap.
Shelby Bonnie lost his iPad while changing planes at the Fort Lauderdale airport. Luckily, he still had his phone and thanks to modern technology, he knew he could easily use one to track down the other.
Using Find My Phone, Shelby quickly pinpointed the exact location of his missing device. As he suspected, it was right there - at the gate he had just departed from. But then, something strange occurred. His iPad began to move! He watched with bewilderment while his orphaned device embarked on its own mysterious journey, traveling more than a thousand miles away from where he’d left it.
In that moment, Bonnie decided to share his tablet’s wacky, unpredictable adventure on Facebook. With every update, his account of the "Runaway iPad" became a legend. In other words, the story went viral.
The adventure began as Bonnie was headed to a vacation in the Caribbean. But as he left south Florida, his liberated iPad flew to Memphis, Tennessee. Shortly after touching down in the land of the delta blues, Shelby and his followers tracked his device as it visited Elvis Presley’s Heartbreak Hotel in Graceland and then a downtown rib-joint. It ended up at the Riverside Golf Club in Memphis.
His Facebook fans couldn’t get enough. One commented, “this is better than Game of Thrones!” Then, just like the popular HBO drama, a thrilling plot twist emerged. Back in Fort Lauderdale, waiting to board a flight home, Bonnie came painstakingly close to intercepting his lost device with a face to face encounter with its captors.
He received an alert that his iPad was inbound on a flight from Memphis. Scurrying to the arrival gate, he carefully scanned every passenger getting off the plane. Remembering that Find My Phone will sound an alert on your device, even when it’s in silent mode, he sent a distress signal to his iPad and listened for the unmistakable tones.
But his brilliant plan failed. Even though the tracking app positioned his lost tablet right there - within a 100 feet of where he was standing, he couldn’t find it. He reported the disappointing news on Facebook: “It must be playing hard to get, or, it’s in a checked bag.”
Just a few hours after that close encounter, Bonnie noticed his iPad had moved away from the airport and settled at a nice house in suburban Miami. This was his golden opportunity. Bonnie did something that was both funny and clever.
He sent a bunch of helium-filled Mylar-balloons to the house, with a message that read: “Thinking of You” and included his phone number. Fans of the saga were on the edge of their seats- watching Facebook with great anticipation. But nothing happened.
Then, suddenly, an alert showed the iPad was on the move again; this time, headed back to the airport. “Where in the world is my iPad flying- off to now?” Bonnie was wondering, when his phone rang. It was the airport’s Lost and Found office.
They called with the good news that his iPad had just been returned... by an elderly woman, who asked them to pass along her “thanks, for the nice balloons.”
As the rightful owner and the adventurous iPad were reunited back in San Francisco, a comment on Shelby Bonnie’s Facebook page exclaimed: “'This story had it all; plot twists. suspense. drama and a happy ending. I can't wait for season two.”
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