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JK Rowling asked people to help a Dublin student find an important bag - and it worked

Thank you, JK Rowling!

UPDATED: Friday May 12 at 4.15pm

HAPPY NEWS FOR the Irish student who lost a bag full of important stuff on a night out – it has been retrieved, thanks in no small part to JK Rowling.

Earlier this week, Trinity PhD student Jamal Sul took to Facebook to tell the story of an important backpack that went missing last Friday.

Taxis Source: IanMurphy

His story began:

If you know a Dublin taxi driver, you might end up being my favourite person.
I had an unfortunate event on Friday where I went out and celebrated my thesis corrections. I met up with two friends and got a taxi outside Iskanders between 3am-3.30am on the 6th May, which was Friday night into Saturday morning. I got into the taxi and headed towards Cherry Orchard but I had fell asleep in the back completely disorientated I hopped out and left my bag.

Jamal’s bag contained his laptop, PhD notes on lab work and a month’s worth of work based on his lecturer’s recommendations.

Most cruelly of all, he was on the way home to back them up on his hard drive.

Once he posted his story on Facebook, the shares started racking up. On Thursday morning interest peaked when JK Rowling screenshotted it and tweeted it to her 10 million followers

That’s one way to get word out.

Jamal has no idea how it came to JK’s attention, but he tells DailyEdge.ie that spreading the story is the only way he has a chance of getting the laptop back at this stage:

The laptop itself isn’t important – it’s what’s on it that really counts. I submitted a version of the thesis chapter on the 28th of March and got lots of comments and corrections back. I spent most of April doing those corrections so that’s how much work has been lost.

Social media was a last resort, as Jamal has spent nearly a week exhausting all other practical measures on the ground – from contacting the carriage office to reaching out to local businesses looking for CCTV of the incident.

His friends shared the post with taxi drivers they know, and he provided a a description of the driver in the hopes that he might be recognised by someone in the cab community:

The taxi driver was really sound on the journey (or so I’m told, since I was asleep in the back), he was an older Irish man with yellowish grey hair driving a dark navy car.

Getting JK Rowling on board, however, was a blessing nobody could have imagined

Syria conflict Source: Yui Mok

As he said himself:

Let’s hope that the taxi driver is a Harry Potter fan.

Either way, it all worked out in the end – the taxi driver got in contact with the Sean Moncrieff show on Newstalk, which had Jamal on yesterday.

The bag was picked up, and Jamal came to the studio to collect it today:

A good news update from the Moncrieff team today! More to follow...

A post shared by Newstalk 106-108FM (@newstalkfm) on

Back on Facebook, Jamal has thanked his friends, the driver, and of course, JK Rowling:

The internet is so powerful and it retrieved my laptop. I am over the moon! Ireland, you did it again!

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About the author:

David Elkin

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