Nine-year-old Valentina Dominguez from Plano, Texas thought all hope was lost when she realized she left her favorite doll on a plane in Tokyo. But a North Texas pilot didn’t give up on the search.
Beatrice, an American Girl doll, was left on the international flight about three weeks ago.
According to WFAA, Valentina’s father Rudy said they meticulously searched through all their luggage, but could not locate the missing toy. The doll was last seen during the plane journey, and since then, the family reached out to the airport and airlines, hoping Beatrice would resurface.
"Beatrice was a big part of our lives for the past three or four years," Rudy told WFAA. "I am feeling sad because she is very sad."
Now, as late August arrives, the 9-year-old has reasons to rejoice. A viral online post about the lost doll caught the attention of James Danen's friend and subsequently a neighbor in Richardson.
First Officer Danen of American Airlines, who has been flying with American since 1993, travels to Tokyo frequently and hoped he could help the Plano girl find her best friend.
Danen contacted the Turkish Airlines' lost and found office at Haneda Airport in Tokyo. The pilot had to make a second attempt before successfully retrieving the doll. Throughout the journey back home, Danen made a point to capture photos with the doll at various airports and during flights.
Then, on Aug. 21, living just a few miles away from the Dominguez family, Danen personally drove over to their residence and handed the doll to Valentina. In addition to the doll, he also gifted her some Japanese treats and a sizable map showcasing all the places Beatrice traveled to.
"like helping people... that's just what I like doing," Danen told WFAA. "I was really glad I could do something nice for somebody.”