Lost and found: Cell phones, underwear and gloves – lots of gloves | AspenTimes.com

Lost and found: Cell phones, underwear and gloves – lots of gloves

Chad Abraham

Boxes full of forgetfulness sit inside a room at the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority offices across from the airport.The boxes and a nearby safe contain the constant stream of items lost on buses. Much of the stuff is mundane. But there are a few things that raise eyebrows and make one wonder how they could have been left behind: panties, passports, an insulin kit, mail.”We get everything from digital cameras to socks,” said Dave Iverson, RFTA operations manager. “You name it.”As for the underwear (bras have also been recovered), he said the RFTA staff is left to wonder if “these people are removing this clothing or just carrying it as souvenirs.”And then there are the gloves. A box perhaps 3 feet tall contains nothing but gloves that don’t have mates. The mitts are likely the greatest source of aggravation for RFTA’s staff.Phone calls from people missing a pair of black ski gloves, brand name unknown, are common. Not knowing the brand is a problem considering “we probably get anywhere from 100 to 200 pairs” every winter, Iverson said.Cell phones are also lost nearly every day. In the summer, so are umbrellas. RFTA holds valuables such as wallets for a few days before delivery to the police. Passports, however, are given to the authorities immediately.Expensive items usually find their way back to the rightful owner, although brand-new skis and snowboards sometimes are abandoned, said John Filippone, a RFTA supervisor.”It’s amazing,” he said.The lost booty stays at the Rubey Park bus station for two weeks before it’s moved to the RFTA administration offices just downvalley from the Aspen Airport Business Center. The staff will grill those who call in to check their honesty.”They have to describe the item – they have to know the brand,” Iverson said.But he and others at the bus agency are not without compassion. Gloveless people are sometimes told, especially at the end of the season, to come out to the offices near the ABC. There, they can look for their mitts themselves.And “if you can’t find yours but you find a pair you like, go ahead and take ’em,” he said. “There’s just so many.”Unclaimed items at season’s end are inspected, and damaged objects are thrown away. What remains goes to LIFT-UP, a Glenwood Springs-based nonprofit that battles poverty, or for use by RFTA staff. Mechanics, cleaning crews and other employees who work outside benefit from all those gloves.RFTA is seeing huge increases in ridership, which corresponds with more misplaced miscellaneousness. And the lost-and-found also acts as a gauge of what’s popular.”iPods are starting to pop up,” Iverson said.Chad Abraham’s e-mail address is chad@aspentimes.com