On a recent business trip, I connected through Houston Bush. The flight from San Antonio departed 90 minutes late, so I would have only 15 minutes to make it to Terminal B, which is a long way from A.

Upon making it to the gate, I waited patiently for the seatbelt sign to turn off, and then I bolted out of my seat. In just a few minutes, I was sprinting to my gate. I was told it would take 15 minutes, but I was there in 10, which meant I was technically on time.

The gate agents were not going for it. “No sir. We close the gates 10 minutes before the flight.” I’ve flown enough to know that gates are not always closed 10 minutes before all flights, but there was no time for a discussion. I needed to rebook.

My AirPods Max

Unfortunately, the next flight to my destination was scheduled to leave 5 hours later, so I had a super-long layover in Houston. The good thing is that I now had plenty of time to get work done, so I made my way to the United Club.

Upon finding a semi-quiet place to work, I reached in my bag for my AirPods Max, and I immediately realized they were missing.

I knew it! I had left them behind.

I was able to use the Find feature on my iPhone to trace them to Terminal C. Luck was on my side, and a United Airlines manager said he would help me locate them. He walked into a secure room with a keypad.

In a few minutes, he walked out and said, “Are these them?” I could not believe it! They were Space Gray AirPods Max!

I replied, “Yes!”

True, I missed my flight, but I found my AirPods Max.

Not Mine

I did not try to use the AirPods Max until I arrived at my destination. It was at this time that I realized a problem. The unit was having a tough time connecting via Bluetooth.

Something was wrong. These are not mine! When I tried to manually connect the listening unit, I saw an option for “Brian’s AirPods!”

I now felt bad that I had someone else’s AirPods. I called Apple and was given the following two options: (1) Drop them off at an Apple Store, or (2) Take them to the police. There was also the opportunity of taking them to a United lost and found location, but Brian would have to submit a lost item online form, which many passengers fail to do.

I figured Brian would have a better chance of getting them back if I took them to an Apple Store when I returned to San Antonio in a few days. 

However, I powered the unit, so it would remain traceable. My hope was that Brian may be able to contact me in some way so I could return them.


I arrived in San Antonio on a Saturday and planned to take the AirPods to the Apple Store on Monday.

However, on Sunday afternoon, my wife mentioned that the security guard who manned our community gate called and that a “Brian” was seeking access to our property so he could pick-up his AirPods.

My wife replied, “Great! Please let him in!”

Upon hearing the doorbell, I went to greet Brian.

Brian! I’m so glad you’re here. I have your AirPods! Let me tell you the story …”

He cut me off … “I don’t need to hear the story … just here for my AirPods.”

This curt comment surprised me, and I did not exactly know how to respond. I shook his hand, smiled, and said goodbye.

As he walked away, he shouted over his shoulder, “You should know these AirPods are traceable through my phone.”

My heart sank … He thought I tried to steal them.

The Lesson

I’ve lost so much stuff over the years, so I know the frustration well.

I attempted to do the right thing here, and I know my heart was in the right place.

Even though my honest approach backfired with Brian, this will not stop me from trying to do what is right in the future.

By the way, United Airlines called me a few days later with good news … they found MY AirPods Max, and after a $26 shipping payment, they were on the way to me via FedEx.

Upon arrival, they paired right away.

God is Good!