I don't tend to use ebook readers all that much, though last year at a press event I was given one by the company Kobo, so I occasionally take it when I travel.
Kobo isn't all that well-known in the U.S., though it's reasonably successful in other parts of the world. It's a perfectly nice ebook reader, though I think the Kindle and Nook probably have advantages.
Anyway, a couple months ago, I was coming back from one of my trips to Chicago, had the Kobo with me...and left it in the seatback on the plane. The problem was that since I rarely use it, I just didn't think of checking for it.
I immediately called lost-and-found - though "immediately" is somewhat a misnomer, since trying to find the phone number of an airline's lost-and-found is a numbing process. At least it is with American. Why on earth they make it so difficult, and just don't list each airport is beyond me. Lost-and-found has to be a heavily used number.
Anyway, cutting the story down a bit because it's unimportant to this tale, after leaving a bunch of messages (you only get a recorded message), I actually got a phone call back from that they thought they found my Kobo ebook reader! I figured I must be one of 12 people in the U.S. who ever had his lost item found. Though I still had to confirm it was mine. But it was found around the date I'd lost mine, and might have even been on the flight, so I felt pretty confident.
The rep had to check first, and she read off the books on the reader, and -- none of them were mine! Aggghh!! I was gnashing my teeth. What were the odds of finding a second Kobo around the same time, and even perhaps on the same flight?!! So, regretfully, I said it wasn't mine and hung up.
What were the odds, indeed? And the more I thought about coming so close, the more I thought about those odds. It just didn't seem likely. I'd mentioned the story to a few people, and they hadn't even heard of Kobo. So, those odds, again -- finding two of them??? It had to have been mine. It had to. But those books -- they weren't on my reader. So, how in the world could...
And then it hit me.
Most, if not all ebook readers try to sell you other books to buy, and they list them on the main page. I suddenly became nearly absolutely certain that the rep was reading the names of those books to me...and never hit the icon that says "Library" off near the bottom. I became near 100% certain that that was my Kobo ebook reader that had been found...and I sent it back!!
I tried calling the airline's lost-and-found back, and left a whole bunch of messages, even to the point of saying that I was sure they'd sent it off to their clearing house by now, but could they call me back with the number of that. But alas no call.
It's one thing to lose an item. I didn't like doing that. But what really mortified me was that I'd done the near impossible -- I'd actually found it in an airline's lost-and-found...and gave it back!!!!
When I went to the IFA Berlin tech trade show, I told the story to my friend Ed Bott, who I often mention here, who is one of the most tech-savvy people I know. And he absolutely agreed with me, but was even more certain that that had been my Kobo ebook reader. And so too were a group of people who should know better than almost anyone. And it was those people from whom luck smiled.
It was the people from Kobo.
At one of the events I attended at IFA Berlin a few weeks ago, there was a room filled with vendors from about 50 companies. And one of them was Kobo. I made my way around the room, and eventually got to the Kobo booth. Once there, they began showing me their latest products. Now, as I mentioned above, I had been given the Kobo ebook reader at a press event last year -- it was at a special gathering at IFA Berlin, thrown by Kobo. And as it turned out, several of the same people from last year were at the Kobo booth, and we remembered each other. I told them my tale of woe -- and to a person they all agreed, with zero uncertainty, that that had absolutely been my Kobo that was found. They knew for certain, better than anyone, that it was rare to find a Kobo in the United States. And that, yes, there are other books promoted on the main page.
And that's when the mortifying tale had a happy ending. They had a new model they were bringing out. It was almost identical to the one I had lost, the Aura. The difference was that this one was waterproof -- and called the Aura H20. If I'd like to review it, they said, we'd be happy to send you one.
Huzzah! Yes, I said, and I have it now.
By the way, I usually fine waterproofed products a bit of a gimmick, but an ebook reader is one of the few that actually makes sense. People take their ebook readers to the beach, or sit by a pool, or even sit on a rubber raft in the pool with it. Some people (the Kobo people told me) even take them in the bath, wrapping them in plastic first. So, this is really a smart idea, and it's the only one on the market that's manufactured to be waterproof. So, I think the company has a very intriguing product.
I had intended to tell this story, but other things got in the way, and I hadn't gotten around to it. But then I saw a video about KLM lost-and-found, and it was so utterly wonderful that I immediately knew I had to post it here. And posting it here, it was clear that the ideal lead-in was my Tale of the Kobo Ebook Reader.
And by the way, as loopy as the ebook reader tale is...I think this video trumps it. But then, I think this video trumps a lot.
I should not that what I love too is that this is for KLM. That was the first airline I ever took as a little kid on a family trip, so I have wonderful memories of it. And I hadn't flown the airline since -- until I took it two years ago to my first IFA Berlin. It was a wonderful flight in both directions, and the best of all my three trips.
I also blew away the flight attendants since I still had the little gift I was given as a kid. It was a portable chess set, like a small portfolio, with the KLM logo on the front. They all were stunned to see it, and said it was far better than the gift they give kids today. And then, they asked if I'd like one of those gifts, as well, to sort of round out things. I thought it was only proper to accept -- and they were right, my chess set was far better.
The point here is that I really like KLM. And after this video, I like it even more.
Watch it to the very end. Really.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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