(Stuffed) tiger tours Tampa International Airport

First it was Princess Kitty.

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A few weeks back, the Lost & Found department at Denver International gave a stuffed animal named Princess Kitty the royal treatment and a tour of the airport before reuniting the toy with its young owner.

Now a stuffed tiger named Hobbes – left behind at Tampa International – has plenty of tales to tell.

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Earlier this month, the TPA Lost and Found Department got a frantic call from the mom of a 6-year-old boy named Owen who had left his toy behind when the family flew off to Houston.

A janitorial crew at the airport found Hobbes and Tony D’Aiuto, the airport operations center manager, decided to take the toy on an adventure.

Hobbes certainly had a great time.

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Photos on the airport’s website – and in the book D’Aiuto had put together overnight at a local Walgreens – show Hobbes at the gelato counter, playing Jenga in the USO, visiting the airport fire department and the air traffic control tower, learning about airport operations and checking into the airport Marriott.


Owen and his family came to retrieve Hobbs when they got back from trip and were presented with the photo book of the tiger’s adventures.

“It cost just $16 to make the book and a couple of hours of my time,” said D’Aiuto, “and if there’s ever an opportunity like this when we know we’ll be able to reunite a toy with its owner, I’d love to do it again.”

(All photos courtesy Tampa International Airport. A slightly difference version of my story about the lost tiger first appeared on USA TODAY)