When deboarding was finished for Delta Flight 1330 from Kansas City, Mo., to Atlanta last week, one unexpected passenger was still onboard. Staff cleaning the plane found a plush, albeit worn, stuffed cat, and placed the toy at the flight’s gate desk in Atlanta just in case the owner returned for it.
But by the time a new flight crew arrived later in the day for the plane’s new route, no one had claimed it. Delta flight attendant Fabiola Figueroa, 27, decided to personally see if she could find the toy’s owner on social media by sharing photos of the stuffed animal. Despite an outpouring of support — the post racked up over 1,000 shares and hundreds of likes and comments — the airline says its owner still hasn’t been found.
10 feel-good travel stories from the year travel stood still
“It looks so well-loved, and I know when I was growing up, I grew up in a military family, I loved having my little stuffed animal as a sense of home and security,” Figueroa told The Washington Post. “It started off as ‘let’s find its owner,’ but it’s been really encouraging to see how many people have commented and shared and are helping in trying to find them.”
Since the toy was found last week it has flown around the United States with Figueroa and the rest of her flight crew, who took photos of the cat with a mask on and in first class in between routes to Memphis, Louisville and Atlanta. The airline confirmed the toy was left on an Atlanta-bound flight on Dec. 16, and that Delta is in the process of reaching out to parents of children who flew the route.
Flying with the toy for a full week before a few days off for Christmas, Figueroa is still hopeful the toy’s owner will be found.
“It might seem silly but it’s such a special thing for a child to have that comfort of a toy that’s the same everywhere you go,” Figueroa said. “I’m hoping we find out whose it is, and give them a little bit of joy. Hopefully they’re not having sleepless nights without it.”
This is not the first time Delta has made a stuffed toy famous to reunite one with its rightful owner. Earlier this year the airline found a 1-year-old girl’s stuffed “Daddy Doll,” which had a photo of her military-deployed father on it and played his voice when pushed.
That toy was also found at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, which is Delta’s primary hub and the busiest airport in the United States. The airport typically sees 2,600 flights per day.
Traffic through the airport is down about 18 percent due to the pandemic.