Fans of the Calvin and Hobbes comic strip by Bill Watterson will completely understand why 6-year-old Owen Lake was so upset when he realized he had lost his beloved stuffed tiger, Hobbes. After all, Hobbes isn’t just any tiger. He’s special. This Hobbes was even more special to Owen because his aunt had stitched him and stuffed him especially for Owen. And Owen’s parents were worried Hobbes wouldn’t ever be found because Owen had left him in the Tampa International Airport.
Owen’s mother called the airport hoping someone had found her little boy’s tiger. As luck would have it, someone had, and the airport staff decided to make Hobbes’ return to Owen even more special than just handing him over.
One airport employee, Operatons Center Manager Tony D’Aiuto, took Hobbes on an excursion all over the airport and took pictures of everything Hobbes did and everyone he met. Hobbes met a firefighter from the airport’s fire department. He visited the airport ice cream shop. He watched planes land from the airport’s control tower. He took a ride on an airport luggage cart. He helped a dog finish her bowl of Beneful. He worked out in the airport employee’s gym. Hobbes was given the grand tour by D’Aiuto on his lunch hour. All the photographs were put together in a picture book, which D’Aiuto gave to Owen when he came with his parents to pick up Hobbes and take him back home where he belonged.