365 Writing · Stories


“Crap, crap, crap!” Sarah was panicking. It had only been an hour since she arrived in Beijing and her cell phone was out of batteries. She hadn’t waited at the airport to find one of those handy charging stations as she had assumed there was still charge left her power bank, but that too was dead.

She was supposed to check in at the hotel, but the directions had been on her phone, and she was lost at some subway stop she didn’t know how to pronounce. How could I have been so stupid? She thought to herself. Swallowing her pride, she approached a subway worker and pointed at her phone. “Sorry, but do you have a cable.”

“没有对不起。” He responded waving his hand. Uncertain as to what he said she made her way towards the exit. Sarah was pretty sure this was her stop… like 80% sure? Maybe 60%… The exit was crowded, but she made her way out. This was a nightmare. Maybe a store owner would have a way for her to charge.

Sarah continued with the crowd out of the subway and into a mall, her large suitcase making navigating the swarm of people challenging. Nightmare since the elevator didn’t seem to be working she had to haul it up a long set of stairs. At the top, she looked around. It was hot, extremely hot, or maybe that was from pulling her suitcase around. There was a small drink and snack stand near the exit, and she approached the man there. “Sorry, do you have a charging cable?” She pointed at her phone and made a motion of plugging it in.

The man simply waved at her. “No! 我没有” He answered similarly as to the other and then pointed. “你可以那边找电充线吧” She followed his gaze to a shopping mall.

“Shei, shei,” she said, doing her best to thank him.

“谁?” He asked before pointing again to the mall. She was about to thank him again, but someone behind pushed past her and pointed at a drink.

Leaving the stand, she made her way to the mall. Lots of little booths and shops selling everything she could think of dotted the interior. Someone here must have something, Sarah thought. Finding electronics, she went up to a booth owner. “Hi!” She said looking around at an old woman selling speakers. “Do you have a cell phone charger?” Again making the charging motion with her dead phone. “我没有他们应该有” The elderly woman gestured down the stalls towards the back of the mall.

“Shei, shei!” She replied and made her way down. Trouble is, she still couldn’t find it. After wandering back and forth there was nothing like cell phone chargers, and everyone she asked seemed to say pretty much the same thing and point her in various directions. Sarah felt like crying. Lost in China was not on her to do list, she had been holding it together until now but… She stopped herself. It would be ok. This wasn’t that bad. Just ask someone else. Walking down to the next booth there was a middle-aged man watching a TV show on his phone.

“Ni how!” She said as best she could and pointed to her phone. “Do you have a way to charge my phone?

“Charge phone?” He said in English.

“Yes!” She said relieved.

“有有有, 给我,”  He said, holding out his hand for the phone. Sarah gave it to him, and he reached around in his drawer taking out an android cable he plugged it into the same power strip he was using to charge his phone. “稍等,” he said going back to his TV show.

“Thank you, thank you!” She said overjoyed seeing her power indicator light up.

“别客气,” He responded, which she assumed was “you’re welcome.”

Overjoyed she checked the adderess. She would never make this mistake again.