St. Vinnie’s staff help donor reconnect with his lost iPhone

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Date: Wednesday, August 11 2021

NOTE: Larry preferred not to share his full name here, but we couldn't resist sharing his recent positive experience in dealing with St. Vinnie's employees!

From left, Ryan Swofford, Gayla Halleman and Alisha Cantwell were among SVdP staff who helped locate a donor's lost phone.

When Larry set out to run errands on July 27, he didn’t intend to lose a valuable belonging in the process. But after stops at his doctor’s office, the bank, and the drive-through donation lane at St. Vinnie’s Chad Drive thrift store, he realized he had misplaced his cell phone. He had no luck retracing his steps, until he revisited St. Vincent de Paul to explain his situation after dropping off donations there earlier in the day.

“I went to SVdP to explain to the donation drop-off staff that I had dropped off a tub of donations and that my cell phone was missing, wondering if the cell phone had slipped out of my shirt pocket into the tub,” he said. “The drop-off person could’ve said, ‘Take better care of your possessions.’ But what he did say was, ‘Sorry to hear that.’”

Attempting to track down Larry’s donated items, SVdP donation drop-off staff members discovered that the tub had made its way into a large bulk shipping box, then was loaded into the back of a trailer. Larry called his number using his wife’s cell phone, but was unable to hear or find the missing iPhone. So he went home empty-handed, but planned to stop by SVdP’s central sorting warehouse on N. Cleveland Street the next morning.

But that same night, one of Larry’s grandkids asked him, “Don’t you have a ‘Find my iPhone’ app on your iPad?” Right away, he said, “She looked at my iPad and pointed to the app — which located my errant cell phone still at SVdP on Chad Drive!”

The next morning, Larry called SVdP and described his situation to Human Resources Director Alisha Cantwell. She asked how long it would take him to get to Chad Drive, and had staff ready to start searching by the time he arrived. Despite the blazing midday heat of a summer heat wave, staff members were happy to help, unloading five shipping boxes from the trailer in order to recover Larry’s lost phone.

Larry himself was so happy with how staff handled his "cell phone odyssey," he followed up with a generous financial contribution to SVdP as a way of showing his thanks to the five employees who helped that day. He also shared an anecdote revealing his longstanding admiration for SVdP and its leadership.

“While I was there, I told Alisha the following story: About 10 or 15 years ago, when I had just dropped off one of my grandchildren at Eugene Christian School, I stopped across the street at SVdP’s main offices and asked if I could talk to Executive Director Terry McDonald,” Larry said. “Remarkably enough, they said yes. As I was meeting with him, I said, ‘I just want to say how much I admire you, Terry. You’ve never seen a problem for which you and your organization could not devise a solution.’”

Desire to be of service is a core value at St. Vincent de Paul, and there’s no more fitting demonstration of that than Larry’s recent experience. Across the organization, staff stive to devise solutions and provide the best service to patrons, donors and community members each day.

So of course SVdP staff will always be happy to help anyone find a missing phone or other lost item — even without an assist from a tech-savvy kid detective who already cracked the case!