Tourism

Tourist thanks finder of lost phone

  • Thanks so much: pictured, from left, are Debbie Shastany, Michael Shastany and Sharon Riviere. Tourists Mr and Mrs Shastany lost their phone and Bermudian “ambassador” Mrs Riviere helped them to find it (Photograph by Fiona McWhirter)

An American tourist said yesterday that people everywhere should be more like Bermudians after a group teamed up to track down his lost phone.

The Massachusetts-based construction contractor said “panic struck” when he realised the phone — with the contact details of all his clients — was missing, but it was found within minutes.

Michael Shastany, 60, said: “We need the world to be more like Bermudians.

“Send one Bermudian to every town in America.”

Mr Shastany and his wife Debbie, 56, arrived on the island last Friday to attend a relative’s wedding.

The couple became engaged at Elbow Beach 29 years ago but married in their home state of Massachusetts.

They were busy raising their children, James, now 24, and Samantha, 21, and so never got the chance to return.

They enjoyed the wedding celebrations on Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning at The Loren and later took a bus to the Hamilton ferry terminal for a trip to Dockyard.

Mr Shastany said the couple found themselves chatting to a local woman, Sharon Riviere, from Pembroke.

He added: “She was just being friendly, asking us where we’re from, just taking the time from her day to be inquisitive.”

The pair discovered common ground as Ms Riviere had worked in Boston and Mr Shastany reached for his phone to show his new friend some photographs that might interest her.

But after he checked his pockets and backpack, he realised it had gone.

Mr Shastany said he was shocked when he discovered he had lost his phone.

He explained: “Your phone’s your world, I’m thinking about my clients’ phone numbers.

“It had all my e-mails, texts and pictures. Debbie was thinking about the wedding pictures.

“Sharon is still casually chatting away; I apologised to her and said I needed to focus on finding my phone.

“She said ‘We will find your phone’.”

Ms Shastany contacted relatives at The Loren hotel to find out if it was there and Ms Riviere, 73, called the police and the department of transport and “within two minutes” staff at the bus depot confirmed they had the phone.

The businessman said he and his wife had been at the back of their bus and it appeared either the driver or a passenger had handed the phone in at the Hamilton terminal.

The couple decided they would collect the phone later and took the ferry to Dockyard as planned, along with Ms Riviere.They invited her for lunch and said they were delighted to watch her talk to “anyone and everyone”.

Mr Shastany said: “She’s really like an ambassador for Bermuda.

“We were coming in on the ferry, there were three names on boats — Patience, Faithful and Powerful and I said, that’s Sharon.

“Those three words right there are really just Sharon and your whole island of people.”

Ms Riviere later gave the couple a ride to collect the phone and then took them to Elbow Beach.

Mr Shastany said: “At the same time she told us the whole history of Bermuda.”

He added: “You have a true ambassador of Bermuda. I’ve asked people about her and everyone knows her or has heard about her.”

Ms Riviere said: “I had hoped to find the person who handed in the phone, it’s not about me, it’s about them, they were honest.

“We are indeed special, Bermudians are really special.

“I travel, I work with the poor all over and I’m in all sorts of countries. I’m always a Bermudian ambassador.”

Mrs Shastany also thanked everyone else who helped recover and return the phone.

She added: “We remember from 29 years ago that the country was clean, pristine and friendly.”