Nothing puts a damper on a vacation quite like a child losing a stuffed animal. That was a lesson the Lake family learned the hard way when 6-year-old Owen left his adored stuffed tiger, Hobbes, at the Tampa International Airport while the family was traveling to Houston. Lucky for Owen and Hobbes, the airport staff was able to not only get Hobbes back to his owner (they found Hobbes hanging out by the children’s play area), but they even took him on an awesome airport adventure while he waited for Owen to come pick him up. To add to this already adorable story, they posted pictures of Hobbes’ airport experience on social media so others could see what he was up to.
The idea came from Airport Operations Center Manager Tony D’Aiuto, who snapped the shots of Hobbes while on his lunch hour and kept social media updated so Owen could follow Hobbes’ short career at the airport. “I pitched this idea a couple of months ago after I saw a similar idea where someone took a stuffed lion around a museum,” D’Auito said in a statement from the airport. “This seemed like the perfect opportunity.”
Hobbes helped with luggage, chatted with control towers, and snacked away in the food court (because what’s a longer-than-expected wait at an airport without a stop by the food court?).
And when Owen showed up to get Hobbes five days later, airport staff had compiled a photo book of Hobbes’ time as an airport assistant. Owen’s mom cried when she saw it. “It was very, very sweet,” Owen’s mom shared in a statement. “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.”
We’re sure Owen is thrilled to have his buddy back in action, and how cool that the airport took the time to create a moment that Owen and his family will remember forever. We’re sure Hobbes will remember it too.