This post is dedicated to all those who do not have their profile on Facebook and to those who claim that Facebook is only a time waster. This post is also for those who during emergency situations run into panic. Why? Read this text.
What would you do if it turned out that you got deprived of your cash, cell phone and your purse because it had been left at your friend’s house and you don’t remember the address? An impasse? It turns out that Facebook may be of great help.
As I found myself in Limehouse in London
It’s Thursday in February at 10:40 pm and I make a whirlwind visit at my friend Paul who lives near Limehouse station in London where DLR stops. I’m totally worn out after a three-day intensive workshops at work, night integration and late shopping and several changes. I don’t know how it happens but with my each visit to London I lose a few kilos, more than after my fitness class and a gym. Perhaps because every time I’m here I try to arrange thousands of things. I move around the whole city, which isn’t small at all, and changing at particular tube stations requires quit a fitness. No wonder, I never meet people with crutches or on a wheelchair. No a chance for those people for a normal transport.
Normally I would pick a less busy day for a visit at Paul’s, especially that I still had to come back to Gunnersbury station, and it’s quite a distance and 2 changes at minimum. Unfortunately, the next day Paul was going to Barcelona right after work and I had my workshops until then so it was really the only day when I could pick up my stuff from him.
It was the collection of clothes, cosmetics and pepper spray which I had to leave at his place coming back from Mexico as I couldn’t take so much stuff in a hand luggage to Warsaw. This stuff had already been there for a few months so it was a high time for me to take it and stop imposing myself on Paul and his flatmate.
Houston we have a problem
The task seemed to be easy. I call in, exchange some views as we didn’t see for a while, take a bag with my things and quickly come back to the hotel. So trivial, isn’t it? Basically nothing can go wrong but a day without any adventure is not a good day. Half awake, hungry (as I had my last sandwich at 2pm) but happy I thanked Paul, grabbed a big paper bag from Prime Mark where I kept my shopping plus stuff from Mexico and left. A lift took me downstairs and I headed towards a train station. I wanted to check the time, and what a fate, I don’t have my cell phone. Wait a second, I don’t have my entire bag. What a duffer- I thought to myself. I hanged it in a corridor and Paul didn’t even notice it.
Anyway, one must be brainless to leave one’s bag where everything is kept- documents, a key to my hotel room, a pendrive with my presentation, a wallet, a cell phone etc. Well then, I’ll have to come back, period. But the entry phone at Paul’s house doesn’t work so he won’t open the window. Hmmm…..ok I see a security officer. Ufff I managed to get inside the building. I ring the bell and nothing. He went to bed so soon? Or it’s not the right door? Impossible. My stomach and my head started reminding me that I had been on one sandwich and only 4 hours of sleep for half a day. God, get focused girl, please! You simply couldn’t forget where he lives… And if so? Well fine, I have no choice. I’ll knock to the door upstairs and downstairs. Perhaps I really confused the floors which look exactly the same. Silence again. What to do? Wait, if there’s a security officer in a building, then they must have a list of tenants.
All hope of bodyguard
I came back to the reception. Unfortunately it turned out that a man only sat there and had no list but he knew a few of them by sight. I started to describe my friends- they are very distinct, tall from Poland. There’s a chance that he will associate them. He indeed admitted they such those ones lived there but he has no idea under which number. I spread my hands and started wondering whether I should simply walk up and down all the floors and knock to all the door until I hit the right one. But it’s already after midnight so the idea is kind of lame. I felt I was covering with sweat more and more. Perhaps I should just come back to my hotel and write him an e-mail in the morning? But I have neither cash nor documents to come back. What if I am caught and get a fine? Englishmen are very jobsworth and accept no excuses.
My last hope is Facebook
I sat on the stairs and started wondering how to contact Paul. I thought of Facebook? Perhaps Paul will read my message or at least someone from his friends who have his number and can contact him. But the problem is where I am to find an internet café at night? Besides, I’ve got no cash. I decided to knock to somebody of the residences and ask for help. After the sixth attempt one door got opened by some Chinese woman who was very surprised with the time I bother her. I explained the whole situation to her repeating in turns how silly I was and how terribly sorry I was. She turned out to be very understanding. She hugged me and cheered by saying that nothing had happened and that it could happen to anyone. She agreed to let me use her phone to log on Facebook. Unfortunately Paul wasn’t logged in. Luckily there was my friend Karolina from Oxford so I quickly wrote to her asking for Paul’s number. Minutes lasted like hours when I was waiting for her to write back. Here it is! Thanks a lot Karo and I’ll explain later.
The Chinese girl was kind enough to let me call Paul from her phone. Yes! I rushed to Paul’s to pick up my stuff, thanking and apologising to him hundred times. I felt so silly that I even couldn’t find the words to explain it to him because I couldn’t believe myself that it wasn’t a dream. It turned out later that the doorbell wasn’t working. That’s why he didn’t hear me ringing for the first time. The most important is that it turned out well. Once again I thanked the Chinese girl who invited me for a cup of calming tea and set off. It was so unreal how much concerned she got and how hard she tried to help. It turned out again that I get more luck from strangers than I have wisdom. The moral to this story is that there’s always some way out of any situation which seems hopeless and that sometimes it’s worth having Facebook profile or other web portal as an additional means of communication with the world.
Facebook and threat
Facebook may turn out to be useful when you get lost or when something happens to you. It shows your last logging location. It’s also good to know that after tsunami in 2011 Facebook introduced a “safety check” function in 2014, thanks to which people who are a danger area, e.g. natural disaster or terrorist attack may notify on their safety condition. In this way your friends and family may learn that you’re fine. This function was first in use after an earthquake in Nepal.
Among other things, the tool uses the access to a user’s location and on the basis of this a person who is in the danger zone may receive a special alert with a touch button “I’m safe” clicking on which sends such a message to friends. It will inform us how many of our friends find themselves in a danger zone. It also includes an emergency number under which you can obtain detailed information. I think that using Facebook nowadays has a way new meaning and it’s worth being on Facebook not least because of safety reasons.