By , Barry Kaufman
Published March 02, 2017
Although he regularly traveled through time and flew through outer space, the comic page’s stuffed tiger Hobbes, of Calvin & Hobbes fame, never had an adventure quite like this.
In a statement, Tampa International Airport shared the story of a stuffed toy left behind by 6-year-old Owen Lake, and the frantic call from his mother that launched a full-fledged search and rescue and subsequent heartwarming reunion.
But the real life-affirming nugget here is the adventure airport staff took Hobbes on before he was reunited with his boy.
After the tiger was located at the children’s play area at Airside C, Airport Operations Center. Manager Tony D’Auito hatched a plan to take the toy on a photographic tour of 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, noting that all of the photos were taken during his lunch hour. “This seemed like the perfect opportunity.”
According to the statement, D’Auito, with the help of TPA police, airlines, operations staff, the USO and others all over the airport campus, photographed Hobbes on his great adventures: outside by the air traffic control tower, buying gelato, working out at the employee gym, playing Jenga in the USO, hanging out with the firefighters, napping in a hammock by the Marriott pool, riding a luggage cart.
When the Lake family returned from their trip to Texas, they were greeted at TPA’s airport operations center by Hobbes, AOC Manager James Parker, and a photo album commemorating Hobbes’ adventures through the airport.
“It was very, very sweet,” said Owen’s mother Amanda Lake. “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.”
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