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MTA helps tourist get iPhone back that fell through metal grating

A Filipina tourist got her iPhone back days after it fell through a metal grate in Times Square – following plenty of tears, travel rearrangements and finally, help from the MTA.

Aleth Hicks, 34, lost her phone Friday night when she and a group of friends tried to balance it on a metal railing with its PopSocket before it fell over and through the metal grating. While it was well out of reach, she could still see it and wanted it back – badly.

“At first, it hasn’t sunk into me [that] it’s gonna be that hard to get the phone out, ”she told The Post on Sunday.

She went to cops, firefighters and Times Square security, to no avail, before someone suggested going to the nearby MTA booth Saturday. The booth attendant told her workers were coming but that it might take some time before staff arrives on a busy Saturday.

No one came, even as she and friends waited hours, she said.

She then got some string and magnets to try to pull the phone up on her own. When that failed, she tried to find mouse trap glue to reel it up that way, but no surrounding stores had any.

phone tourist

Aleth Hicks tried to get help from different authorities but nobody was available.


tourist phone

The phone fell over and through the metal grating after she tried to balance it with a pocket socket.


Aleth Hicks

Hicks, the determined tourist, was not willing to leave the Big Apple until she retrieved her cellphone.


She finally went back to the MTA booth again pleading for help and even changed her Sunday flight to Monday morning to give her more time.

This time she got results.

“When [MTA workers] finally showed, they’re like, ‘It’s been here since Friday, why did you not call us?’ I was like, ‘I tried.’ I called 511, 311, 911, everybody, and nobody could help me. I was so helpless, ”Hicks said. “Cops – they’re just laughing at me. I’m like, ‘It’s not funny.’ I’m frustrated, I’m crying, I’m begging. “

The MTA said employees were able to open the grate and retrieve the phone around 10 am between 46th and 47th streets.

tourist phone
She delayed her return flight home to make sure she could get her phone.
GNMiller / NYPost
tourist phone
The phone was retrieved by the MTA on Sunday.
GNMiller / NYPost

“This story exemplifies what NYC Transit workers are all about – responding to the call of duty day in and day out,” MTA New York City Transit President Richard Davey said in a statement. “I am pleased that there was able to be a good resolution to the incident and I know the employees were as well.”

Hicks said the replacement phone she bought over the weekend would likely be offloaded on a resale website once she gets home.

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