From missing children to life savings: UAE residents share incredible lost-and-found stories, hail safety of Emirates

The country routinely scores very highly on safety indexes globally


Nasreen Abdulla

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Supplied photos
Supplied photos

Published: Tue 10 Jan 2023, 9:10 AM

Last updated: Tue 10 Jan 2023, 7:49 PM

A key feature of life in the UAE is the enormous safety and security that residents enjoy. UAE routinely scores very highly on safety indexes globally. In 2021, a Gallup poll showed that 95 per cent of residents feel safe walking alone at night. Videos showing the extent of security residents and tourists feel have gone viral in the past, with people leaving phones and wallets in public places for hours without them being stolen.

UAE-based explorer Naaji Noushi, who was in the news for driving from India to the 2022 Fifa World Cup in Qatar, has thanked Dubai Police for their efforts in finding her son after he was lost at Dubai Mall. In a post on her verified Instagram account, Naaji commended the police and mall security for their swift action.

“We were walking hand in hand and suddenly in just a minute, he was lost,” she said, speaking to Khaleej Times about the incident where her 6-year-old son Zohan went missing. “It was the first Friday of the new year, so the mall was especially crowded. For the first half an hour, we tried looking for him on our own, but we started to get agitated and approached the mall security. The police were very reassuring and told us that it is a common occurrence. They asked us for his photo and within 10 minutes, they located him. I was so thankful to be in a safe country like the UAE.”


The mother of five, who relocated to Abu Dhabi from Oman late last year, said it was the first time she had experienced such an incident. “This is the first time since we relocated to Middle East that such an incident happened,” she said. “I was so worried, but I am so grateful to the police and security for acting so swiftly.”

“This is how things work here”

Abu Dhabi resident Abu Khadija did not bat an eyelid when a new colleague called him frantically. “He had just moved to the UAE from New Zealand, and he forgot a bag with all his life savings in the back of a taxi,” he said. “He was almost in tears when he called. I told him not to worry as he would get it back and advised him to report it to the nearest police station.

And sure enough, as the British expat predicted, the bag was returned the very same evening. “My colleague was in disbelief and thanked me profusely. I told him that this is how things worked in this country. I joked with him that you don’t become a true resident of the UAE until you have lost something and had it returned to you.”

Last week, Dubai Police handed a Kyrgyz tourist her watch worth Dh110,000 that she lost a year earlier during her visit to Dubai, despite never having file a missing report. With no contact number to get in touch with her, Dubai Police went to extreme lengths to make sure she was reunited with her time piece.

“Exact same spot”

In 2021, Dubai-based coach Claudine Foong posted on Instagram about how she forgot a stroller in a car park overnight and returned the next day to find it in the exact same spot with nothing missing. Her story was reposted by Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai who called it a “a true story that we can all relate to in Dubai”

Another person who testified to this was Sharjah resident Samira. While meeting her friends at Buhaira near Masjid Al Noor, the Emirati paid at the parking meter but didn’t realize that her wallet fell out of her hand on to the road. “I went to a restaurant and stayed for few hours with my friends,” she said. “It was only when I wanted to pay that I couldn’t find my wallet. I rushed back to my car and there the wallet was, exactly where it fell on the ground with nothing missing. It’s such a busy place with people always around. But no one touched it for hours.”


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