Return of iPhone shows uncommon dedication to honesty


Kishan Patel

Junior international student Ben Flomo holds his lost phone while posing with Tom Martiner, the man who hand-delivered Flomo’s phone to JC. Flomo’s was one of three phones Martiner found at Rehoboth Beach that day.

By his own appraisal, Tom Martiner is “that weird guy on the beach with a metal detector,” but when he showed up at JC with junior Ben Flomo’s lost iPhone he was much more.

A graduate of Loyola University, Martiner is resident of Rehoboth, Delaware, where he spends time enjoying the beach along with tourists and vacationers from all across the East Coast and other parts of the country.

On May 9 one of those vacationers was Flomo at Rehoboth on a trip to the beach with the other students living in the dorms. Flomo returned from the trip and unpacked his bag only to realize that his phone was not in his bag as he had thought.

For many teenagers losing a phone is a huge inconvenience and a major disappointment, but for the international students living in the dorms phones are even more important. When most high schoolers lose their phones it means a break in contact with friends and losing the entertainment of an iPhone.

For Flomo it was much more important because he uses his phone to stay in touch with his family thousands of miles away. “I need it to contact my family,” Flomo said.

Flomo would have lost that contact had it not been for Martiner. Martiner has made finding and returning lost items something of a hobby. This is the third time he has found an iPhone, tracked down the owner, and returned it to them. In this case, the process of returning the phone was quite drawn out. It was two weeks before Martiner got the number of Campus Minister Gary Meyerl via a message from the find my phone app and called to set up a meeting.

Martiner’s two hour 15 minute drive from his home in Delaware to Bel Air to return the phone, not to mention the two weeks of trying to contact someone on the phone.

Martiner took time out of his day to return the iPhone to Flomo and understands the difficulty of losing phones. “I guess this won’t come accross as all high and mighty, but I’ve lost many phones myself, and I know what a pain-in-the-butt it is to get the contacts back and that doesn’t even count the money,” Martiner said.

Flomo was understandably overjoyed that his phone had fallen into honest hands. “I was happy because I didn’t have money to get [another] one and it was really exciting to get it back. It was cool that he took the phone and drove all the way to Maryland to return it. That [meant] a lot to me considering he didn’t have to do it,” Flomo said.

Will Bolton is an Opinion Editor for The Patriot and