AT lost property, found!
Pimp your Cause
It was one of those rainy winter evenings when Auckland appears to be even more crowded, as downtown traffic slows down to a crawl. I had just had a surgery (with local anaesthesia) and my lovely friend did not want me to stay at home by myself. On her insistence, I decided to spend the night at her place in Ellerslie.
Initially, we decided to avail of the Uber cab service. But since they were running on a 2.7 surcharge at that time of the evening, we decided to take the train. My child and I met my friend at Britomart. Our train arrived and we were on our way. Quite smooth so far.
Along the way, we spotted a co-passenger, right next to me, who must have had a drink too many, perhaps to beat the wet-winter blues. He had reached the limits where he could no longer contain the headiness and was starting to create a nuisance. The train manager, who was quick to come to his rescue, or rather of his co-passengers, was still fussing over the inebriated soul when our station arrived.
We got off the train, little realising that I had left my overnight bag on my seat. My right arm felt light and in a sudden realisation, I yelled as the train left the platform. Now what?
The bag had my post-surgery mandatory medication, not to mention my child’s school uniform as she was supposed to go to school the next morning from Ellerslie. In despair, my friend and I googled for the Auckland Transport (AT) helpline. An automated voice put us on hold indefinitely, because the customer service executives were busy on other lines. Frustrating!
My friend even suggested her husband drives us to the final destination where the train was headed, which we did. But in vain. No one at the train station could tell us who could help with locating lost property. All that the security guard on duty did was point us to an AT helpline number. As a last resort, I dialled the number and to my surprise, someone did answer at the other end. The customer service representative gave me another phone number to dial the next morning and asked me to leave a voice message on the answering machine, describing my lost possession along with my contact details.
On that note, we went back to Ellerslie, stayed the night at my friend’s as planned, but in borrowed nightwear and toiletries; and all our conversations invariably revolved around the lost bag and its content.
The next morning, as we returned to CBD, my daughter refused to go to school in mufti. So I decided to visit our GP to collect a fresh batch of my regular medication, which was also misplaced as it was in the lost bag. Only three days ago, I had picked up enough of this medication to last me for the next three months. What a waste!
On our way to the GP, I made two calls – one to the AT lost property helpline and left a voice message on their answering machine, and another to the hospital to request for a duplicate prescription for another batch of the post-operation medication.
Meanwhile, at the GP, I went through the drills of a medical consultation that comes for a fee. As I was making the payment, the receptionist – a middle-aged polite professional – noted that I had picked up the same medication not very long ago. By way of conversation, she asked the reason behind the repeat medication and I narrated the harrowing experience of the night before.
The receptionist lady promptly suggested that we should stop by Britomart and enquire at the customer service desk. Well, the GP is actually only a 5 minute walk away from Britomart. So off we went to the train station. The lady at the customer service counter told us to go down the platforms and ask AT representatives about the lost property box. We did that and one of the officials went inside an office room and came out to tell us that all lost items have gone to the Transdev office which is across the street at the HSBC Building.
“Can I go up to the Transdev office?,” I asked.
“It’s on level six. You can give it a try,” said the AT official.
As a last straw of hope, we went to the HSBC Building and made our way to the designated floor. The lady at the reception took down my details and the description of the bag. Told us she will call back if she spots it among the lost property. We were about to leave, when she said: “Wait, let me check. Most probably we don’t have the bag.”
She walked inside an ante-room and walked out with our now-beloved Esprit bag – all its content intact. We couldn’t believe our eyes for the first few moments. I don’t know if I was relieved to find the school uniform and the medication back, or whether I was marvelling at the efficiency of AT’s lost property retrieval system.
Long story short: some of the public service systems of this country are amazingly efficient. And AT is definitely on top of the list.
PS: To retrieve property lost on AT train services:
- Call Transdev at 09-969 7777 Monday to Friday 8.30am to 5.30pm.
- Go to the HSBC Building, 1 Queen Street, level 6, and enquire in person. All items are brought back to Britomart, irrespective of where they were lost.