Lost and Found

Inside the Lost Property Office in London
Photo © Rob Greig via Now Here This

What do you do when you lose something important? Liz Waid and Adam Navis tell about some organizations that help people find the things they have lost.

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Voice 1  

Welcome to Spotlight. I’m Liz Waid.

Voice 2  

And I’m Adam Navis. Spotlight uses a special English method of broadcasting. It is easier for people to understand, no matter where in the world they live.

Voice 1  

Imagine this situation. You know you had it. But you cannot remember where it is. You start to search. You look here. You look there. You look up. You look down. You walk back to where you last remember seeing it. But you cannot find it. You have lost it!

Voice 2  

Everyone has experienced losing something and trying to find it. Sometimes we lose things that we use every day such as keys or a coat. But sometimes we lose something that has a special emotional meaning. Sometimes we find the lost object quickly. Sometimes it takes a very long time. And sometimes we need other people or groups to help us find it. Today’s Spotlight is on the experience of losing and finding things.

Voice 1  

Guillermo del Toro is a famous film maker from Mexico. He writes his ideas for future films in a special notebook. He takes this notebook everywhere. One day he was in London in the United Kingdom. He was travelling in a taxi. But when he left the car he made a terrible discovery. He had left his notebook there. The notebook contained four years of work. It contained all his ideas for his film ‘Pan’s Labyrinth’. Del Toro searched but he could not find the taxi. His notebook was lost!

Voice 2  

The taxi driver found the notebook. But he did not know who owned it. He also found a piece of paper with the notebook. The paper had no name or address on it. But it did have a picture of a hotel symbol. Two days later the driver found the hotel. He returned the notebook to Del Toro. Del Toro was extremely excited. He was so thankful that he gave the driver $900. Del Toro could now make the film ‘Pan’s Labyrinth’.

Voice 1  

Hundreds of thousands of people travel in London every day. And like Del Toro many of them lose things. ‘Transport for London’ is the organisation responsible for much of London’s transport system. This organisation has a lost property office. If someone loses something on a bus, train, taxi or on the underground this office can help.

Voice 2  

The Lost Property Office is full of hundreds of thousands of lost objects. They include 51,000 books; 35,000 bags; 11,000 sets of keys; and 27,000 mobile telephones. Many of these mobile telephones even still have power. Lost Property Assistant Bob Sayer told the BBC,

Voice 3  

‘Sometimes in the morning there are bells going off everywhere. It frightens you.’

Voice 1  

Every day the Lost Property Office helps over 300 people find their lost property. The office has provided this service for over 80 years. But today many people turn to the internet to help them find their lost property.

Voice 2  

In the United Kingdom Clare Owen runs the internet service Lostbox. Three hundred lost or found objects are listed on Lostbox every week. It has a social media reach of 5 million people. This internet communication has helped Lostbox bring together owners and many lost objects, from animals to false teeth! Lostbox has even worked across continents.

Voice 1  

One such Lostbox story began in London. A taxi driver found an expensive camera in his taxi. He knew it belonged to a young man and woman from Australia. He had driven them to the airport. They had travelled around the world. They had visited places such as Dubai, New York and London. And they had taken lots of pictures with the camera. The driver knew they could replace their camera. But they could not replace the special pictures or memories on the camera. The driver wanted to return it to the young people. But he did not know their names. And he did not know how to find them. Lostbox helped him. In six hours Lostbox had reached a million people. And the young people were found!

Voice 2  

Owen designed Lostbox to find lost objects. But it has found other things – even lost families! A man named John wanted to find his birth mother. He did not have much information. But he knew his birth name. He also knew where and when he was born. Owen told the BBC what happened when the story was put on Lostbox,

Voice 4  

‘Within 48 hours of that appeal going live, he was on the telephone to his sister that he did not know he had, and his mother later that day. He met her a week later. And now he messages her every morning and speaks to her every night.’

Voice 1  

Everyone understands that finding a lost person is an emotional experience. But people also get emotionally attached to objects. University experts have studied this. They say that we consider the things we own part of ourselves. They also say that an object does not need to have great material value to have emotional value.

Voice 2  

Tim Butcher is from South Africa. He experienced losing something with great emotional value. Butcher’s father wore a gold ring on his little finger for 60 years. And before that HIS father had worn it for 40 years. Butcher was given this ring when his father died. And he put it on HIS little finger. But one day he noticed the ring was gone. He told the BBC how he felt,

Voice 5  

‘An emotional wave washed over me – shock, terror, shame, anger, powerlessness. And when it pulled back, all that was left was a guilty feeling.’

Voice 1  

Butcher had lost it on the beach in the sand. He spent hours searching. But the sand had covered the ring. Eight days later a man called Alan came to help. Alan used his special metal detector equipment to search for the metal ring. Forty minutes later Alan found it. The ring was buried under 40 centimetres of sand. Butcher had tears in his eyes. He wanted to pay Alan for his work. But Alan did not want any money. Butcher decided he had found more than his ring. He told the BBC,

Voice 5  

‘I went down to that beach that day to find a ring. What I found was more valuable still - that there remain some good people out there.’

Voice 2  

Tell us about your experiences of losing or finding something. You can leave a comment on our website. Or email us at radio@radioenglish.net. You can also comment on our Facebook page - just search for spotlightradio.

Voice 1  

The writer of this programme was Katy Blake. The producer was Michio Ozaki. The voices you heard were from the United States and the United Kingdom. All quotes were adapted for this programme and voiced by Spotlight. This programme is called ‘Lost and Found.’

Voice 2  

You can also get our programmes delivered directly to your Android or Apple device through our free official ‘Spotlight English’ app. We hope you can join us again for the next Spotlight programme. Goodbye.


Have you ever lost something that was important to you? How did that make you feel? Did you find it again? Is there something you would never want to lose?


Severino Ramos da Silva's avatar
Severino Ramos da Silva
said on April 19, 2016

From: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) (Severino Ramos)
To: spotlight
Subject: answer to the questio above
Date: Tuesday 19, April 2016
São Paulo SP Brazil

Dear Liz Waid, Katy Blake, Adam Navis, and Michio Ozaki:

First of all, I want to thank you to develop more one excellent issue for us readers and learners of English.
Yes, I have. I lost my grandmother a long time ago. She passed away. She was very important to me. Also, In 2014 I lost all my documents. It was terrible and I did not find them. I went to the lost and found here in Brazil but nobody found them. However, I had to get all the documents again.  Yes, there is. Actually, there are two things that I would never want to lose. The dream to learn English total fluent in speaking, writing, listening, and comprehension. And my health.

All the best,
Severino Ramos

Kaleb Kolaibi's avatar
Kaleb Kolaibi
said on June 12, 2016

Everyone always lose something.
My top experience about that was from a long time. When I studed of unvericity in Syria I forgot my small bag in minibus which was containents important things such as passport, unvericity card, money and some papers. Next day I went to and found it at bus station offece. Thanks God.

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said on October 09, 2016

Yes .. I’ve lost myself then I found again

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Kim Kim
said on January 02, 2017

i had lost lots of pictures when my friend who borrowed my memory stick and she lost it. I’m so sad about that. Because i can’t find it. I really like taking pictures so i feel so bad when most of pictures lost. i’m going to more careful when i give something important for someone else i think. I’m a very careful person so i thought i won’t lose anything important for me, but now i had some experiences if someone else wants to borrow my stuffs.

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said on April 27, 2017

A thing has its own story. There is influence on our feeling when we lose a thing. We are sad when we lose a thing. We are happy when we find our lost thing. We may find our lost thing. It takes time to find our lost thing. It may take lots of time to find our lost thing. We may not find our lost thing. We are happy when we find our lost thing. We are happy when we help other people find their lost thing. We have joy when we bring joy to other people. We have joy when we do beautiful good things.

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said on April 29, 2017

Losing any important thing is unpleasant, we may feel sad or angry, nevertheless we mostly can replace this thing with another one. However, when we miss, lose a close beloved person it means the real, irreplaceable loss!

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Giang Phan
said on November 03, 2018

Many thanks to Spotlightenglish for very interesting programs. They speak very slowly and use few phrasal verbs. I can listen and easier to understand. They help to improve my English knowledge and skills. Thanks a lot!

I have one suggestion about your website, could you show the information about the category for each post (for example: below the title and after the post date)? I often go to the home page and listen to the latest program. I’m only interested in some category. There is some inconvenient every time I go back to your website and go to each category to check there is a new post or not. So, I’m very happy if you can help me. Thanks again!

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Trong Quan
said on November 04, 2018

This your progammes is so wonderful, I think, all of us had ever lost something!