TAMPA, Fla. (WTVT) -- Tampa Bay Area travelers have a new reason to love Tampa International Airport after workers there went the extra mile to take care of a lost toy tiger and the boy who had forgotten him.
The airport recounted the tiger tale on their website. They said it all started on a Saturday morning when the frantic mother of a 6-year-old called to say that her son Owen had left 'Hobbes' somewhere at the airport before the family flew to Houston.
That set off an airport-wide search for the orange and black stuffed animal, who eventually was found by a janitorial crew near the children's play area in Airside C. That's when Airport Operations Center manager Tony D'Aiuto decided to take the tiger on a tour while he waited for Owen to return.
D'Aiuto not only took the tiger on a behind the scenes adventure, but he also made a photo book of the tiger's trip. The photos showed Hobbes outside air traffic control tower, buying gelato, working out at the employee gym, playing Jenga in the USO, hanging out with firefighters, napping in a hammock by the Marriott pool, and even riding a luggage cart.
When the family returned late Thursday night, they found Hobbes waiting for them as promised -- along with the surprise photo book.
"It was very, very sweet," Owen's mother Amanda Lake said, admitting that she was moved to tears. "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."
"Thank you to everyone at Tampa International Airport who took such great care of Hobbes. It was such a nice surprise."