My new cell phone has traveled more this month than I have. On a quick trip to Denver this weekend, I left it on the airplane; it traveled on to Cleveland and Ottawa, before it was found by a thoughtful agent from Air Canada who called the "Home" number and talked to my husband about returning it. He is sending it back via the Lost and Misrouted Luggage system, and it may take a while to clear Customs in Great Falls, but it should be here in a week, more or less. It confirms my faith in humanity when things like this occur.
The frustrating thing is that, with a little co-operation from United, we could have retrieved the phone in Denver. If the United luggage agent had been willing to call the gate, someone could have found the phone and we could have picked it up, without inconveniencing the Air Canada agent. The United agent claimed that he didn't know the number to call the gate - and maybe he didn't. But it seems like it would be simple to have an automated system for lost and found items; then he could have emailed the gate agent very easily, or emailed Cleveland with the information.
The luggage agent did provide a phone number for United's lost and found service. When we called it, we got the Arapahoe Search and Rescue Service. We finally tracked down a number for United, only to be told, "This mailbox is full. Goodbye." Some customer service there! If I ever have a chance to fly Air Canada or United, it will be an easy choice.