The Bay Area Rapid Transit agency saved a rider the $89 replacement fee for what would’ve been an AirPod Pro relinquished on one of its railways.
It’s been seven years since the first generation of AirPods was released and forever changed how we view headphones. (How could any of us forget Headphone Jack Gate.) Since then, the AirPods product line — which now includes a Pro and Max version — account for over $24 billion in annual revenue for Apple. They’ve also become somewhat of a status symbol, as well as a topic for cultural fodder.
@SFBART I dropped one AirPod at the Lafayette station today at 9:30am. It is in the first car area (of a 10 car train in the SF direction) right in the middle of the tracks. Picture attached. Could you please retrieve it for me? pic.twitter.com/2iGPs3W2W2
— Tom C (@thomashchia) February 2, 2023
Unironically, it’s easy for these $150-plus dollar bits of plastic to fall out of ear canals… unless your inner-ear flesh miraculously hugs them, right out of the box. Alas, this is rarely the case. They’re also slippery in hand, leaving them susceptible to falling out of our hands and… say, landing on a San Francisco Bay Area transit track.
That’s what happened to a Bay Area resident riding BART recently when they dropped an AirPod at the Lafayette station — and it bounced from the platform and onto the tracks.
“[BART,] I dropped one AirPod at the Lafayette station [on Thursday, February 2nd] at 9:30 am,” read a tweet from Tom C, before asking the agency to see if it could be recovered. “It is in the first car area (of a 10-car train in the SF direction) right in the middle of the tracks. Picture attached. Could you please retrieve it for me?”
Tom C. did the absolute right thing. Under no circumstance should any pedestrian venture onto BART tracks, even if there is no train traveling on them. A simple accident or single mistake could lead to injury or something far worse — like death.
The rapid agency states that any person who has lost something on a track should contact the organization for proper assistance. It’s then that BART will send out an agent to safely retrieve said object and return it to the right party.
Thanks to our overnight crews we saved the AirPod.
— BART (@SFBART) February 3, 2023
That’s exactly what happened in this instance.
“Thanks to our overnight crews we saved the AirPod,” the agency said with a picture of the rescued first-generation AirPod Pro. “Never go into the trackway. If you drop something, go see the station agent. Or if you can’t or the agent is on break, tweet us!”
In 2019, Ashley Mayer tweeted the story of her AirPod retrieval. She used the tip of a broom handle with duct tape — the adhesive side facing out, obvi – to get the fallen Apple product off a New York City subway track. While commendable (and ingenious), BART used the moment as a tweetable lesson to riders that if they, too, found themselves needing to rescue an AirPod, they should contact the agency for help.
Back then, it was reported by SFGate some 80 pairs of AirPods are reported missing each year. Given the explosive growth and popularity of Airpods since 2019 — over 19 million units of the product in the last quarter of 2022, alone — we’d imagine that number has only increased since then.
We’re happy with this bit of (reusable? Sure?) plastic was saved and has presumably now been able to resync with Tom C’s iPhone.
Feature Image: Courtesy of BART