Fyne Blades pair aiming to help people locate misplaced items
Talal Alami, barber and co-founder of TioRay.com
January 3, 2023
Two barbers based on Askew Road have set up a lost and found app prompted by the experience of a customer who recovered a ring thanks to the kindness of a stranger.
A few years ago, a woman told Ray Hatoun and Talal Alami at Fyne Blades barber shop that she had lost the item. It wasn’t an expensive one but had huge sentimental value to her and so she was offering a £150 reward.
A few days later, a woman walking in the park found the ring. It was reunited with its owner, but the women refused to accept the reward.
This prompted the pair to set up a lost-and-found website, TioRay.com, that aims to become the go-to destination for anyone who loses or finds anything.
They hope to reunite people with misplaced items including dropped wallets found on the street, whose owners the police no longer have staff to trace.
“The police don’t handle lost property, and even when they did, would you go and look for things at the police station?” asked Talal, 35. “It might have been handed in at this police station, when you’re nearer to that police station!”
Similarly, Transport for London no longer has the resources to try to find the owners of, for instance, 10,000 umbrellas left on tube trains ever year.
Tioray (or ‘Uncle Ray’ in Spanish!) is founded on the principle that people are basically kind-hearted, and happy to help others just as they’d hope good citizens would assist them.
The idea for a single point to bring loser and finder together buzzed around in the mind of Ray, who works on Sundays at the shop near the Co-op in 94 Askew Road.
He talked it over with Talal, and – over a haircut in the barber’s chair of the salon where they’ve worked for 16 years – they enlisted the help of one of their customers, tech wizard Paul Derby, who developed the search algorithm that powers the website.
“I’m the bridge between Ray’s vision and Paul’s technical ability,” laughed Talal as he explained how anyone can register a lost item by filling in a couple of simple spaces online.
With so many people owning smartphones with cameras, it’s also possible to add photos of lost and found items to make the process more visual and simpler to use.
Back in the day, Heathrow Airport and every major railway station offered a left luggage and lost property service… but no longer. So, the chances of finding the Good Samaritan who hands in your missing possession are greatly reduced.
“With Tioray, nothing is ever gone for good,” said Talal, who added that every year more than 300,000 different items are found by TfL, ranging from false teeth to envelopes of cash, handbags to urns full of ashes.
Via the website you get a secure link to your email address (with a promise that your email is not used for marketing), and finder and loser are put in touch.
“We believe that people in communities are committed to doing good, and Tioray combines the power of satellite technology, the precision of GPS and the convenience of an app to help connect people who find missing items to the people who have lost them,” said Talal.
“You chat via email, so it’s very secure.”
Talal is also a creative photographer, with several of his dramatic views from Britain and around the world framed on the walls of the salon.
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