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Early this morning I was busy at work from the lobby/Starbucks of the Hyatt Regency Vancouver for a few hours, enjoying a cup of coffee and setting up some appointments for later in the week when I will be back in the office. The sun had just risen, and I was enjoying watching the city of Vancouver come to life, when I was abruptly jolted from my musings by a voice to my left:

“Excuse me, may I charge my phone from your laptop?”


I know my eyes must have widened. Thoughts of malicious software racing through the circuitry of my MacBook pro passed through my mind at lightning speed. The man with phone and USB cable in hand was labeled “immediate threat” as air raid sirens went off inside my brain.

Without a moment’s hesitation, I replied with a very curt, “No, thank you.” The guy looked a little taken aback, but there was no way on earth that I would let him charge an unknown device from my computer. Had he wanted to simply plug it in the outlet next to my knee, I would have be more than willing. There are a lot of helpful things I am willing to do for people, but this is certainly not one of them.

Looking back, I suppose I should have said, “Sorry, no, sorry”, since I am currently in Canada. A few minutes later I did feel slightly bad, but I still felt more than justified in my response. I probably could have been slightly less rude-sounding, but I was totally taken aback by what seemed like an unheard of request.

This was honestly one of the weirdest encounters I have had in a while. I’ve had my share of fighting for an outlet at a coffee shop or airport, but I would never dream of asking to charge anything from someone else’s device.

Has anyone else ever experienced anything like this?

Pro tip - if you're looking for the best portable phone charger while you travel, don't ask if you can DIY through someone else's laptop.  Hilarity WILL ensue!

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