It had been a slow, traffic-clogged drive to Boston from New York but the mood in our enormo-vehicle lifted as we drove through the civilised streets of Irish America. We checked into our hotel, just yards from where one of the bombs went off at the Boston Marathon, and headed out to explore the city. We enjoyed the full tourist experience, even getting on a ludicrous duck-boat tour and having to endure the "Let's go Boston …" chant of our super-fan guide who then forced us to make duck noises. I could have died of embarrassment, and this only served to make my family quack even louder.
That evening, after a fabulous Asian-fusion meal, we got a lift back to the hotel in a cab driven by a Congolese man who never got off his phone once. He cooed sweet nothings in French to his significant other, oblivious to our presence. It was only when I got up to my room that I realised that I'd left my mobile on the front seat. The hotel was amazing. They rewound their security cameras and found, not only the cab company, but also the cab number. They rang Bay Street Taxis who were spectacularly unhelpful and claimed that they had no way to contact Car No 29. I persisted for the next three days but to no avail. The company just wasn't interested and it was clear that I was not going to get my phone back (a normal iPhone, not my big one from Trigger Happy TV).
"That's Boston …" said the concierge at the hotel, "the cabbies here are famous for this kind of thing …." I gave up and moved on. We were going to Toronto next. On our second night there I got my revenge on the Boston Red Sox "super-fan" guide who'd made us all quack. We went to the awe-inspiring Rogers Centre downtown and watched the Blue Jays beat the Red Sox. After the game we hopped into a taxi and headed into Chinatown towards one of our favourite Toronto restaurants. The traffic was gridlocked and we eventually told our Ethiopian driver that we were going to get out and walk. He apologised in a very Canadian manner, as though the traffic was somehow his fault. We told him not to worry but he looked very upset. We walked for a good 15 minutes until we arrived at our destination, Lee Garden on Spadina. Soon we were tucking into heavenly steamed sea bass in ginger and garlic and all was right with the world.
Suddenly, a vaguely familiar figure appeared at our table – it was the Ethiopian cabbie and he was holding my daughter's iPhone. I couldn't believe it. We had left another phone in another taxi. This time however, the cabbie had found the phone, remembered where we had been going and taken the trouble to come and bring it to us. I couldn't thank him enough, but he refused to take any payment for his efforts. I'm not sure if this is a reflection on Congo vs Ethiopia, Boston vs Toronto or the USA vs Canada but I know where I'd prefer to live, and it's not the country urging Donald Trump to run for President.