TLC staff at the Call Center in our Long Island City facility. In the front, left to right: Valerie Williams, Kizzy Smallwood, Audrey Henderson, Geanilda Jaquez, Ayesha Mcfarlane, Sara Phillips, Lawrence Whitehead, and Gregory Flecha. Back row: Jose Morrobel, Mark Lee, Leslie Rodriguez, Darren Frederick, Tyshia Gaynor, Alex Rosa, and Elizabeth Rivera.
The TLC’s Miracle Workers
Ever left a cell phone or jewelry in a cab? The TLC has a dedicated Lost Property Unit focused on reuniting passengers with the 100 items a day on average reported left behind—whether it is a lost wedding ring, a puppy in a carrier, or an umbrella.
Sarah Phillips, who is part of the unit, finds the missing property at least twenty times each day for riders.
Sarah Phillips loves to help passengers find items accidentally forgotten during trips, from medicine to musical instruments and suitcases.
“I can’t give up,” she said. “I’m shocked at how much stuff we find.” Since Phillips began tracking down lost items, her finds include a wedding band, $5000 in cash, medicine, suitcases, and two guitars left in a trunk.
15-year TLC veteran Gloria Ramos, who has been finding lost property for four years, is known by her colleagues as the Yoda of the unit—since she works miracles to help riders. Over the years, she has located countless passports, suitcases and bags, electronics, and wedding rings. She once tracked down a shopping cart with groceries that a passenger put in the backseat, as well as children’s backpacks, three forgotten flutes, and a breathing machine.
One of the first steps she takes to track down missing property is to calm down the passenger. The rider can then share information with her that will help Ramos find the driver from the trip. Once she has those details, Ramos is on a mission.
“I don’t stop until I find something,” she said. “I really get obsessed.”
One thing she has learned from her experience is to ask the driver from the trip to pull out the seat in the cab-- where missing items often fall. “Boom, it’s there,” she said.
Jose Morrobel has helped many riders track down property of great value to them.
Staff member Jose Morrobel finds it rewarding to locate riders’ items. One of the best moments for him was when he tracked down electronic equipment that a passenger with epilepsy relied upon for his memory. “That’s what makes my day,” he said. “Even something as simple as [finding] reading glasses that their grandmother who passed away gave them.”
You can help the TLC find your missing item by always taking the receipt, paying with a credit card, and making a lost property report with 311. Knowing the fare amount can also be very helpful, as well as a precise pick-up and drop-off location.
“Look behind you,” said Phillips. “Don’t shut the door until you know you have everything.”
You can also avoid services that prey on your anxiety and charge money to add your item to a list, without helping to find your missing stuff in any way. Only use 311- it’s always free! To make a lost property report, call 311, or make a report here: http://www1.nyc.gov/311/index.page. You can also learn more information here about finding lost items in taxicabs: http://www1.nyc.gov/nyc-resources/service/1281/yellow-taxi-lost-and-found.
The more information you provide in the report about the trip, the more quickly the TLC can help reunite you with your possessions. “I’m just happy I can make people happy,” said Ramos.
TLC staffers Sharon Brown, Audrey Henderson, and Elizabeth Rivera at the Call Center in Long Island City.