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Boy's lost toy tiger has awesome adventure, thanks to this airport's kind staff

by Alexandra Zaslow /  / Updated  / Source: TODAY

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A stuffed tiger named Hobbes went on quite the adventure after his owner accidentally left him at Tampa International Airport.

When 6-year-old Owen Lake realized he'd lost his best pal while flying with his family from Tampa to Houston on June 6, his mom immediately called the airport, and it wasn’t long before the janitorial crew found the beloved toy near the children’s play area.

Boy’s lost stuffed tiger has experience of a lifetime while spending 6 days at the airport
The lost toy tiger made the rounds at the airport after he was left behind.Courtesy of Emily Nipps

“We don’t always rush to find a lost item, but it sounded like Hobbes played an important role in Owen’s life,” Tony D’Auito, Airport Operations Center Manager, told TODAY.com.

Boy’s lost stuffed tiger has experience of a lifetime while spending 6 days at the airport
He got quite the tour of the Tampa airport, thanks to a friendly staff.Courtesy of Emily Nipps

Once Hobbes was in D’Auito’s hands, he was reminded of a story he'd read a few months ago about a museum in England taking a lost stuffed animal on a photo shoot.

Boy’s lost stuffed tiger has experience of a lifetime while spending 6 days at the airport
He rode the luggage cart.Courtesy of Emily Nipps

It looked like the staff had had fun with the project, so D'Auito proposed the idea to his coworkers and they were all on board.

Boy’s lost stuffed tiger has experience of a lifetime while spending 6 days at the airport
He checked out air traffic control.Courtesy of Emily Nipps

And so, Hobbes went everywhere. He checked in with an airport ticketing agent, monitored air traffic control, worked out at the employee gym, ate some gelato and took a ride on a luggage cart.

Boy’s lost stuffed tiger has experience of a lifetime while spending 6 days at the airport
His adventures were later turned into a photo album chronicling the day.Courtesy of Emily Nipps

“It felt a little awkward being a grown man walking around with this stuffed animal, but people were so excited to help out,” D’Auito said. “They took ownership and got creative in ways I couldn’t have.”

Boy’s lost stuffed tiger has experience of a lifetime while spending 6 days at the airport
Courtesy of Emily Nipps

D’Auito was so inspired by the airport staff’s creativity that he went home that night and organized the photos into a book and added captions to create a storyline.

Boy’s lost stuffed tiger has experience of a lifetime while spending 6 days at the airport
He checked out gelato.Courtesy of Emily Nipps

He picked it up the next day from Walgreens and the special scrapbook of the toy's adventure was waiting with Hobbes when the family returned to Tampa on June 11.

Boy’s lost stuffed tiger has experience of a lifetime while spending 6 days at the airport
D’Auito put together this album with all of the tiger's adventures.Courtesy of Emily Nipps

Owen came to the lost and found area eager to reunite with Hobbes, having no idea he was in for such a sweet surprise.

Boy’s lost stuffed tiger has experience of a lifetime while spending 6 days at the airport
Owen was thrilled to be reunited with his toy, and to receive the album.Courtesy of Emily Nipps

After hugging his pal, Owen scrolled through the book smiling from ear to ear while his mom cried.

“I’m happy I was able to give the boy a gift and didn’t know how much fun I’d have doing it!” D’Auito said.

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