A 9 year old Texas girl thought she'd lost her "best friend" forever when she accidentally left her on a plane in Tokyo. Valentina, whose family lives in Plano, was devastated. "Beatrice was a big part of our lives for the past three or four years," said her father Rudy Dominguez. "I am feeling sad because she is very sad."
Her best friend happens to be an American Girl doll named Beatrice. Rudy said they searched all their bags for the doll to no avail. The last time they saw her was on the plane. They called the airport and the airlines hoping Beatrice was found...but no luck.
They had taken an overseas family trip three weeks ago. Now in late August, Valentina has a lot to be happy about. With the help of an online post about the missing doll, word got around to a friend and later a neighbor to pilot James Danen.
"It's my nature. I like helping people... that's just what I like doing," said First Officer James Danen of American Airlines. Danen has been flying with American since 1993 and just so happens to fly to Tokyo often. "I was really glad I could do something nice for somebody," he said.
Danen had connected with the lost and found with Turkish Airlines at the Haneda Airport in Tokyo. It took the pilot veteran a second time around to finally get his hands on the doll. Danen took pictures with the doll in airports and on the flights as they returned home.
Danen ironically lives just miles from the Dominguez family -- he drove the doll to their home and handed it to a beaming Valentina. Danen also handed her some Japanese treats as well as a large map that showed where all Beatrice had been.
"Thank you! Was she well-behaved on the flight?" Valentina asked Jim.
The Dominguez family is very thankful for the network of people who helped get the doll back. And a 9-year-old has learned a tough lesson about responsibility.