When 6-year-old Owen Lake lost his stuffed tiger at Tampa Airport, his mother told her son his beloved toy — called Hobbes — was having an adventure.
Turns out, he was.
Lake and his family were headed to Houston a couple weeks ago for a vacation and to attend a high school graduation when he left it in a play area, the Tampa Bay Times reported.
They didn’t realized Hobbes had been left behind in Tampa until it was too late, his mom, Amanda, recounted.
“When Owen asked for Hobbes on the plane, my husband and I looked at each other and our hearts sunk. We knew he was left behind. (He) really loves him. … Hobbes is one of a kind. He was made by hand by his aunt who lives in Houston.”
So Lake called the airport to ask about the tiger. Luckily, janitorial staff had discovered it — he was cooling his heels in lost and found, UPI added.
But that didn’t stop the child from wondering if he was doing okay back in Tampa — he worried for most the trip, according to NPR.
It’s one thing to reunite a child with a beloved toy, but it’s another to do what airport staff did. They went out of their way to prove that not only was Owen’s friend okay while he was in Texas, he was having the time of his life.
Operations Center Manager Tony D’Aiuto spent his lunch break one day showing the toy around the airport. The stuffed tiger saw everything on his travels — the air traffic control tower, employee gym. He sampled some gelato, hung out with firefighters, had a ride on a luggage cart, lounged in a hammock by a Marriott pool, and fit in a game of Jenga, CNN added.
And Tony took pictures of each step in his journey. He then used a Walgreens coupon to make a hardbound book for the child.
“I pitched this idea a couple of months ago after I saw a similar idea where someone took a stuffed lion around a museum. This seemed like the perfect opportunity.”
When the family returned from their trip, they found the beloved stuffed tiger waiting for them in lost and found, along with something they weren’t expecting: proof that Amanda had been right all along.
Hobbes had a good time when they were gone. The gesture brought the mom to tears.
“It was very, very sweet. We already told him over and over that [he] was on an adventure, so it was nice to get back and show him that [he] really had been on an adventure.”
[Photo Courtesy Facebook]