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jazzjeppe's avatar

How can I find a person living in a different city/country with very little information?

Asked by jazzjeppe (2440points) August 17th, 2011

So the background story is this:
I flew from Beijing to Munich in July, a trip that easily could have been the worst 9 hours of my life, but it turned out the be the best flight ever. I was sat next to a young mother and her 20 month old baby girl, who during the first 30 minutes screamed and pooped her diaper like crazy (hence the fear of “worst flight ever”). Soon this little baby girl and I started to play with each other for the entire trip (apart from an hour when she was napping). When we had arrived in Munich I was totally so sad leaving her knowing I’d never see her again. I gave her a little panda teddybear I had bought in Beijing. This 20 month old baby girl made such a huge impression on me and since then, not a day has gone by when I haven’t been thinking about her, wondering how she is, if she is taking care of the panda and all that. I do have some photos of her playing and I have a name (they were Chinese and I am not sure I got the correct name). I know, I think, where they live, in which city and country.

But that’s it. No more information.

I know it might sound weird and all (and cute I hope), but this little girl just…well, she stole a place in my heart and… You know, I would love to get in touch with the mother, send her some photos, exchange emails, get an update on how the little girl is doing. Nothing else, really.

So, how can I track down someone I know this little about? I have googled for hours and hours, trying billions of search combos. I am thinking about contacting newspapers, find other Chinese living in the same city… Any suggestions? I really miss her. A lot… :(

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8 Answers

SpatzieLover's avatar the info you have and see what comes up.

CWOTUS's avatar

To be perfectly frank here, your chances of contacting the little girl are (thankfully) vanishingly small – nearly nil, and the chances of finding her mother, and that way contacting the girl, are only about twice as good as that.

Why would I say “thankfully”, when I don’t even know you? Because you may not be the kindhearted and nice person that you appear to be. A lot of very evil people “appear to be” very nice at first. If it was easy for all of us to track children who make an impression on us – for whatever reason – then many of those children could be in a world of hurt.

Aside from that, unless she was particularly extraordinary in some way – in some way that you haven’t described – well, she was just a cute almost-two-year-old Asian baby. Most babies are cute at that age, and it’s hard to tell much about future personality, intelligence, conversational ability and other social aspects at that age. So without being racist or dismissive here: “at that age they all look alike”.

Since your chances of finding “that particular child” again are so tiny, then I recommend that you simply re-create the experience. It may not happen every time, of course, but if you travel enough then you know that there are plenty of screaming babies to go around on flights all over the world, every day. If you can locate and quiet one of them down on my flight, then you’ll make friends all over the world, including me if you’re on my flight.

jazzjeppe's avatar

The “thankfully” part mad me sad @CWOTUS. Not that you had to write it, but perhaps that’s a part of the reality: I am an adult man wanting to get to know/find a child. Sad that would stir up judgment and suspicion.In the best of world it wouldn’t be like that, but we’re not there. Well, I didn’t really think of my “issue” in that way, it is an honest request for ideas and tips on what I go about to perhaps succeed in this almost impossible mission.

I tried not to give away information on the mother and baby’s whereabouts or anything but I tried with my limited English skills, to tell the story of a 36 year old pathetic single man who met a baby, played for 8 hours, held her in my arms, dried her tears when she cried after almost spilling out my coffee, when she reached out to pat my face. For me this was special, very special for many reasons that I didn’t want to go into in my text. But I don’t really mind telling everyone I meet about this special occassion that had such a huge impact in and on my life. My wish is to let the mother know how much i appreciated the trip together and what an impression this little girl had on me.

CWOTUS's avatar

I hope you didn’t misinterpret what I wrote, @jazzjeppe. I expect (since you’re here with us) that you’re a prince of a fellow (really, no sarcasm intended), and I understand how you feel, because I have felt the same simp├ítico feelings for others myself from time to time: children, adults and animals, too. But it’s good that “not everyone” can track down the random strangers that stir us from time to time, because not everyone is built like you and me and has the same good intentions toward others. That’s one reason why I wouldn’t try too hard to improve the various search functions that already exist in the world: some of them are too good already.

So I recommended that you try to recreate the feelings with other random strangers, which is something that I’ve also done. It’s not difficult, and though you won’t connect with “that one” again, “the next one” might leave you feeling even better – about yourself as well as “the other”, whoever it is.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

When it comes to searching for another human being, there are three factors: fast, cheap or quality…pick two.

If you want to go with fast and cheap, then there are several internet sites that will help based upon limited information. The quality of the results is unreliable.

Should you be willing to go with fast and quality, it is going to cost. A roommate of mine once hired a private detective to track down a guy she met in a bar one night. The only information she had was his first name, the color of his truck, and that he was working at a construction site in the metropolitan area of Chicago, Illinois, US. The detective located the guy. It wasn’t a cheap endeavor. The payment receipt is in their wedding album.

If you want to go the route of cheap and quality, then it might take a long time. I’ve been searching for an old friend for years by contacting people on the internet that have the same name as her and one of her siblings which isn’t as common. No luck so far, but I haven’t given up.

So take your pick of the two out of the three, at least for now. You can always change strategies if one doesn’t work out.

On the other hand, there are times when we make a very personal connection with another person, and need to let it go at that. Our lives are like a personal scrapbook filled with memories and mementos that should be cherished for the joy they brought at that moment in time.

trailsillustrated's avatar

here’s how I did it: I went there myself. with photographs, as you say you have taken. It cost alot. I hired a car and a local guide. The ones I was searching for were my own children.

trailsillustrated's avatar

ps- this was an english first language country- good luck to you

Jeruba's avatar

I don’t think I can offer a helpful suggestion for this particular instance, but if you ever have another such experience, remember that you can always offer your contact information: hand the person your card, or write your name and number down on a slip of paper and give it to them, saying that you’d really like to hear from them again and learn how they’re doing. That way, if they do contact you, you’ll know that your attentions are welcome.

Speaking realistically, I would imagine that this young woman’s husband would have the suspicions that @CWOTUS alludes to and would discourage further contact even if you did find them. We’re all conditioned to think that way now in this wicked old world.

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