Airline returns lost toy to family with special surprise

Local News

DENVER (KDVR) — Southwest Airlines came through for a local father after he lost track of his son’s favorite new toy. A surprise reunion left Julian Valentin of Denver stunned and grateful.

“I was blown away,” Valentin said.

The story starts even before the family’s first trip to Disney World. In anticipation of the big trip, Julian’s kids saved up money by doing chores to buy a souvenir at the theme parks.

The very first thing his son Landon did in Disney was buy a Carnotaurus toy in Animal Kingdom. The 6-year-old named his new buddy “Spikey.” According to his dad, the bond was instant.

Disney World was everything the family hoped it would be. On their return home from Orlando, the flight was diverted after a medical emergency. Eventually, the family flew from Memphis, Tennessee, to Denver.

After a wildly successful family trip to Disney World, the unexpected:

“We were getting ready for bed, and I said, ‘Oh shoot! I left Spikey on the plane!’”

Julian said there were tears. That same night he filled out a lost and found form on Southwest’s website. Days later he received a message from Southwest that said they were unable to locate the toy dinosaur.

But this story has a happy ending thanks to the creativity and thoughtfulness of members of the Southwest baggage office at Denver International Airport.

Monday night, the Valentin family had a surprise package waiting for them on their front porch. Inside was Spikey, who came with photographic evidence of his own adventure at DIA.

Landon and Spikey were reunited and Julian was beyond relieved. The whole ordeal made Julian a lifelong fan of the airline.

“This is above and beyond anything I would have ever expected,” he said.

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