We've collected iPods from the French 202 student and from other French students who used them this semester. We did that the last week of school, in April. Someone lost a sheet that had most of the information on who turned them in so, with Ben, I had to go back through all the collected iPods and compare it to a list. The list showed that there were only two students who had iPods out. One was a French 202 student, the other was a French capstone student who checked it out two weeks before the end of the semester to listen to music for her final project/report.
I sent e-mails to them and got a reply from the capstone student. She said,
"Hi Kevin. I turned in the ipod but I gave it to prof Eck."
By "Eck" I assumed she meant "Eick", the French 202 professor spearheading this. I e-mailed him, asking what he knew about this. He said,
"Hey, Kevin. I don't know who she is! I don't recall receiving an iPod from a student."
I asked who her capstone professor was and he told me it was Isabelle, and, "I don't know who she is, but I'll bet she's back home in France enjoying her new iPod."
(She has a French name and has a thick accent. I assumed she was from West Africa.) So, I e-mailed Isabelle, who said,
"I know absolutely nothing, and she did not return the ipod to me. In fact she also has one of my books she did not return. She seems to lose everything. I would be slightly worried if I were you."
So I checked GVSU's people finder and found nothing. I googled her and found a weird spamdex page with irrelevant info, but with a weird link to an article in GVSU's newspaper. I called David and he found her phone number and home address. Twenty minutes later he came over and told me he talked to her on the phone. She explained that she came to the Lab at 4pm on the last day of finals but no one was there. She went to the main office and talked to a student assistant who then called a professor (Eick, she thought). She walked down about four doors to the professor and he took the iPod, questioning why she had that particular one (it was already checked in by another student but she told him that I checked it out to her). He made sure all the equipment was there, checked her name off a list and said goodbye. The professor she described was kind of tall, youngish and had curly, brown hair. This didn't describe any of the possible professors she could have met with. The approximately four doors away from the main office had no one like that in them. David went into their offices and found no iPods either. And no other people would have this list to check off names except David or me.
As you can imagine, I started to call bullshit. I assumed she was this international student who was going to try to make off with the iPod with no repercussions. But, David explained, she sounded really earnest and didn't seem like she would be making this up at all. Still, it sounded fishy to me: especially with Isabelle's warning. David talked to her again to explain that her story didn't make sense and to see if she knew more about who she dropped it off to. He called the office assistant at home and left a message, asking for help.
Then the LRC Help Desk got a phone call- it was her. I talked to her for a minute and she said, "I remembered the office number I went to. It was 2040." I told her, "Yeah, well, that's David's office. The director. The one you were talking to just now." "Okay," she said. "Well, maybe it would be helpful if I just came down and helped sort this out." I told her that was a good idea. And David was right. She did sound very sincere. I then called David.
"Hey, she just called. She's going to come over and help fix this."
"Yeah, and she said something funny. She said she remembered the office number she dropped it off to--"
"--was 2040. Yours."
"Oh shit! I remember now. She did drop it off...to me! I can't believe I forgot."
"I do remember getting a call from the main office at 4 o'clock on that Friday. She came down. I opened the box and checked it out. Oh my God. And it's...(rifles through drawers) in this drawer in my file cabinet. Oh no, I'm going senile."
He called her and apologized profusely, saying it was early Alzheimer's. She understood and laughed, taking no offense. Around this time I went back to Google and looked more closely at the article in our school paper. It was a story about how she and her family fled from Rwanda during the genocide in 1994. She said she felt ashamed for having both her parents and that dying was something she looked forward to. I felt awful. I'd accused this very nice woman, a Rwandan refugee, of stealing an iPod. Like she would want or need a fucking iPod. I then showed this to David to share my guilt. It helped.
Item! Tom spilled pee on himself.