Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek. 

When you do it, you can't believe you've done it.

Then you hope for the kindness, or at least the decency, of others.

Last Thursday, a Delta Air Lines passenger left his laptop on a plane at Atlanta airport.

I know, I know. Everyone says: "How could you do that?" Until they do it themselves, that is.

In this case, the passenger -- whom WSB-TV called Robert -- says he called Delta, but was told to contact lost and found. Where all he could do was leave a voicemail.

He did, though, remember his Find My iPhone app, which helped him locate the whereabouts of the laptop.

It appeared to have drifted to a house not far from the airport.

Which would be a touch concerning.

WSB-TV says it's seen a police report that accuses a resident of a house in Hapeville, Georgia of taking the laptop. The resident allegedly admitted to being employed cleaning planes at the airport and to selling the laptop for $500.

Detectives apparently persuaded the alleged thief to buy the laptop back and then give it back to Robert.

What, though, is Delta's responsibility in all this? The airline declined to comment.

You might imagine Delta would be responsible for everything that's on its planes and, indeed, for ensuring that a customer's complaint is taken seriously.

After all, Delta prides itself on its customer service.

And, as Robert told WSB: 

Probably a lot of people after a long day of travel forget phones, laptops, whatever -- and the fact that it can be so brazenly taken right out of an airport is frustrating and I think a little bit scary in the bigger picture.

Oddly, this contrasts with a recent case in Ireland where a cleaner was fired after taking a magazine from a trash bag on United Airlines flight.

He later won his unfair dismissal case. 

From the customer's point of view, it doesn't matter whether the alleged thief was employed by a contracted company or by Delta itself. 

As far as he's concerned, he was on a Delta flight, his laptop was stolen and Delta has a responsibility of care. 

Of course, the best thing to do is listen to those occasional announcements that tell you not to leave any of your belongings behind.

But who listens to airplane announcements these days?

Published on: Dec 18, 2018
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.