Lost Stuffed Tiger Goes On Excellent Airport Adventure

Open Jaw

We could have written today about the nut job who went crackers when flight attendants wouldn't give him more nuts and crackers while the seat belt light was on. His actions resulted in a plane full of pax sleeping on the floor overnight at BFS.

Or we could have reported on the passenger who ended up being strapped to his seat by fellow flyers after he allegedly assaulted a flight attendant for telling him not to smoke.

There are plenty of strange and terrible stories in the travel business – more than enough to fill this Deviation column each day. But sometimes you just want a good news story, one that restores rather than degrades faith in humanity. Here's one.

When a 6 yr. old boy recently left his beloved stuffed tiger toy - Hobbes of Calvin & Hobbes fame - at TPA, operations manager Tony D'Auito had a better idea than just leaving to languish in the lost and found department.


He whisked Hobbes off on a grand tour of the airport, snapping photos as they went. Hobbes' adventures included a visit to the air traffic control tower, a meeting with firefighters, a stop for gelato and a snooze in a hammock by a hotel pool.

All this took place while Owen, the handmade toy's owner, was on vacation with his parents.


His mother, Amanda Lake, had anxiously called the lost and found department to report the loss of Hobbes. Staff members informed her once Hobbes had been found near a play area, but she and her son remained oblivious to the fun the tiger was having in their absence.

That changed when the family landed back at TPA 11JUN. D'Auito had chronicled Hobbes' airport wanderings into a hardbound photo book that was waiting for Owen, along with the errant tiger.


"It was very, very sweet," Lake said in an airport news release. "We already told him over and over that Hobbes was on an adventure, so it was nice to get back and show him that Hobbes really had been on an adventure."


D'Auito said he'd been waiting for a chance to do something like this. "I pitched this idea a couple of months ago after I saw a similar idea where someone took a stuffed lion around a museum," he said. "This seemed like the perfect opportunity."





(will not be published)