My ID: 3:32pm, Friday, 23 January 2009: O.R. Tambo International Airport (Johannesburg)
South African Airways flight SA208 from Washington-Dulles
Fresh off a 19-hour journey from Washington, DC, my first thought upon entering the terminal building at Tambo Airport was: “Shit, I can’t believe I left that in the overhead.” As usual with me, I left something in the overhead bin, only realizing it after I had deplaned. This time, it was something of sentimental value to me—my favorite knit hat. (See below). With a standby staff ticket, I could have transferred immediately over to Johannesburg’s domestic terminal for my the 7:30pm flight to Cape Town. Instead, I gave up my seat on that flight and took my chances on a later one, trying in vain to get a hold of the crew, lost and found, and ground service staff of South African Airways to see if there was any way to reclaim the had I had worn every winter day for about 5 years. I didn’t expect South Africa to be the most organized of countries to assist with such a loss, and when the first customer service agent laughed at my inquiry as to where the cleaning crew would turn it in, I knew I was really in South Africa J…Fortunately, it was just a hat. I couldn’t wait to lay eyes on Cape Town, and my imagination ran away with the thought of how many lions, tigers and hippos my path would cross at 35,000 feet along the way…
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