Donald Rabin roamed Chicago train after train for four hours. He went to the police to declare a lost item. He even called all the stops on the Blue Line.
Even so, the $ 22,000 flute that Rabin had left on a Chicago Transit Authority train on Friday, January 29, appeared nowhere to be.
In one final attempt, Rabin, a student at the Boston Conservatory at Berklee College of Music who was visiting Chicago, turned to his Facebook page.
“FLUTE EMERGENCY”, wrote Rabin, 23. “My flute stayed on the train and I am desperate to find it because it is my joy, career and the only passion in this world. I just hope that there is a kind soul out there with my instrument. “
Despite all the odds, Rabin received a reply. A homeless man had found the 18-carat silver and gold flute, but there was a catch: Rabin had to escort him to a pawn shop and pay $ 550 to get it back.
“There was no way this could happen,” Rabin told the Washington Post. It took a conscientious pawn shop owner and help from the Chicago police, but Rabin got the precious flute back without paying.
Now the flutist is hoping others will help repay Lukas Mcentee, the homeless man who found the flute, while looking for a way to get off the street. “I can really empathize with the homeless couple,” Rabin told the Post. “I believe in second chances and I wanted to give you the benefit of the doubt.”
From the subway to the pawn shop
The precious instrument was a gift from his late grandmother, who left part of his legacy to Rabin so that his grandson could buy his first professional flute.
Last Friday, shortly after arriving at O’Hare International Airport, Rabin boarded a Blue Line train on the way to his rented apartment in the Wrigleyville neighborhood. When he sat down, he put the black leather flute case in a slot between the seat and the wall, imagining not to forget it, he told the Post.
But when the train stopped, Rabin ran out of the train, who hurried to pick up his luggage and laptop before the doors closed. Moments later, when the train was no longer on the platform, he found that he had forgotten to grab the one thing he had promised not to leave behind: his flute.
Panic ensued, he describes, but he knew he didn’t have much time. “I realized I had to act quickly,” he said.
When the hours of searching and calling didn’t pay off, he spent the next few days contacting local media and posting one final call on his Facebook page. “My flute was forgotten on the train,” he wrote in a publication with his contact information. “The flute is my livelihood and I try everything to get it back.”
On Tuesday, the day he hoped to return to Boston, he doubted he would ever see his flute again. “There is no call. Nobody handed it over. For the first time I will leave a place without my instrument, ”said Rabin.
Later, when Rabin was on the plane to take off, a man commented on the publication with a photo of his flute. “Hello Donald … I found the flute on the blue line a few days ago,” read the message from Mcentee.
In another message, Rabin said, the man explained that he and his wife, both homeless, took the instrument to a local pawn shop for a $ 500 loan. Rabin was able to get his flute back as soon as he paid the amount (plus $ 50, about € 41.50 for accrued interest) to the pawn shop. “If you could help me with any reward [seria óptimo]Wrote the man.
Meanwhile, Gabe Coconate, the owner of West Town Jewelry & Loan, told the Chicago Sun-Times that he called the police on Monday after his wife recognized the flute on a television report. Mcentee returned to the store a couple of times, Coconate told the newspaper, but the Chicago police advised him to hold on to the flute.
I said to him, ‘Listen man, it got on all the news. It’s not your flute, ”Coconate told the Sun-Times. The police picked up the flute at the pawn shop on Wednesday, Rabin said. The musician flew back to Chicago on Thursday to pick up his instrument and played Over the Rainbow at the police station to thank him.
Restoring the flute had little to do with its monetary value, he said. “When I play, I always feel this emotion and this feeling of peace. I know in my heart that it is my grandmother, ”Rabin told the Post. “When I finally got the flute in my hands today, I had the feeling that it was my grandmother again.”
Rabin says although he wished Mcentee had given the flute to the lost and found CTA, he hopes the story of his lost flute could help Mcentee, who said he slept with his wife on the Blue Line every night.
According to a fundraiser on GoFundMe, Mcentee is now raising funds to get an apartment.
“I gave them $ 25 on GoFundMe and tried to give them $ 60 for a hotel that night,” Rabin said. “I told them I would share their GoFundMe. I wanted to help them. I understand them too. “
PUBLIC Exclusive / The Washington Post