It is common to hear about travelers and people losing their phone in a taxi. I used to think that those that did lose their phone in a cab or elsewhere were not smart. That is, until I lost my phone in a cab coming home from Mexico City. Yes, I hate to admit it, but I did lose my phone in a cab.
You see, my trip from Mexico City to La Ceiba includes a flight from Mexico City to San Pedro Sula. From there, I can either fly on a small twin engine plane or take a bus to La Ceiba. Of course, the flight is much faster, but the airline has left my bag in San Pedro Sula before, so I am leery of their service. The next best alternative is to take the Hedman Alas bus. It will take you from the airport in San Pedro Sula to the bus terminal and then connect to La Ceiba. This alternative keeps you from catching cabs within the city.
But I wanted to spend some time in the San Pedro Sula Metropolitan Bus Terminal. This is a modern facility where all intercity buses in and out of San Pedro Sula operate. It makes for a busy, quite hectic terminal with many passengers coming and going. I wanted to take advantage of the extra time in San Pedro Sula to get info on departure times, telephone numbers and web pages from the different companies.
At the San Pedro Sula airport, the only taxis that are allowed to pick passengers up are the official airport taxis. Their vehicles tend to be well kept, and usually have a functioning air conditioning unit in the car. The downside to using them is the fares. The airport taxi fares are quite a bit steeper than regular city taxis. Of course, you cannot take a regular cab at the airport. This means that you must walk across the parking lot, past the security area in the airport and out to the street. Since you are arriving on an international flight, you have your bags, valuable documents, and some cash on you.
If you choose this alternative, you are looking for trouble. Once out on the street, you can fall prey to thieves. Do yourself a favor and do not walk out in search for a cheap taxi! The airport taxis are safe and friendly. You are much better off using their service even if it costs a couple of extra dollars.
Getting back to my story, I negotiated the airport taxi fare to the bus terminal, put my belongings into the cab, and off I went. The 25 minute ride was rather uneventful. I had a chance to talk to the cab driver about the safety situation in San Pedro Sula and surroundings. You see, the city has a terrible reputation which it does not deserve. As a traveler, you will find it safe as long as you use your common sense.
En route, I took my phone out and called home to let my darling wife aware of the fact that I was already in Honduras. As we arrived at the bus terminal, I put the phone down, opened the door, exited the cab and got my bags. It was a perfect ride, except for the fact that I left my phone in the cab! It took my about 10 minutes to realize that my Iphone was not with me! Of course, I went into a panic! My contacts, all the data in the phone, plus the fact that it is an expensive phone! How stupid could I be?
So now that I was phoneless, I could not even make a call to try to locate the taxi driver! I had done it: losing my phone in a cab! After some quick thinking, I walked into the Hedman Alas / Promodias office at the bus terminal. I pleaded for their help. I thought that perhaps their personnel at the airport office could do me the favor of asking the cab drivers. My driver was a young man called Oscar. He would not be back at the airport yet, but if I could only contact him I might recover my phone.
The airport cabs do not have permission to pick up clients on the street. They can only provide service from the airport. In this case, this was in my favor, as no client would sit in the back seat and find my phone while he was en route back to the airport. The Promo Dias staff was awesome! They inquired with the taxi drivers at the airport, got the number to call my driver, and let him know my phone was in his taxi. To make the story short, he was back at the bus terminal with my phone within 40 minutes of me losing my phone in the cab!
If you go by the online reputation that San Pedro Sula has, I should have never seen my phone again. A city that the international press calls the murder capital of the world; one of the most dangerous cities in the world… did not live up to the expectation. This is because San Pedro Sula is not the Murder Capital of the World, or a city where you can be sure to get mugged. Sure there are bad people in San Pedro Sula, but most of the citizens are good, honest hard working people. I have lived in Honduras for 23 plus years, and never once regretted my decision to move here!
So If I can offer you some advice, first, do not leave your phone in a taxi! Second, if you need a taxi at one of the airports in Honduras, use the airport authorized cabs. They are safe and reliable. Third, if you need to travel around Honduras, use Hedman Alas, the best, most reputable bus company in Honduras. They will go beyond the extra mile to help you. Heck, they helped me find my phone!
Last, but not least, my most sincere apologies to all the “dumb” people that have done a good job at losing their phone in a cab. I now understand that it can happen to all of us!