Briefcase adventures in aloha land

My briefcase recently depended on the kindness of strangers, which tells me there really is something called the aloha spirit.

Let me explain. When part of my family flew from Washington to Kaua’i July 2, my briefcase made an unscheduled, one-week layover because of its absent-minded and arm-weary owner.

Besides five suitcases and a set of golf clubs we checked in for our departure from Seattle, my wife and I were laden with seven pieces of carry-on luggage.

That’s an average of about two pieces per arm, since our 6-year-old daughter rightly didn’t see herself in the role of baggage handler. Somehow, in our beasts of burden mode, I managed to sit down—and forget to pick back up—my briefcase in the Honolulu airport terminal as we made our connecting flight to Kaua’i.

Normally, that would be a mistake with no possible happy ending.

But if there’s a place where you can get away with such a goof, it must be Hawaii. First, some honest soul whose name I don’ t know found the briefcase and turned it in to an Aloha Airlines employee. Then the airline virtually knocked itself out trying to return it to me. Failing to find an address or phone number for me in Hawaii, an Aloha representative called a relative in California whose name and phone number were on a list from a family reunion.

The relative contacted my father in Washington, who let the airline know where to find me in Kaua’i. And then the airline called my home and my office to tell me the briefcase was safe and on its way to Lihue Airport, where I picked it up Monday.

In the short time we’ve been Kaua’i residents, my family has had other close encounters with the aloha spirit. A neighbor brought us homemade bread on our first night in our new home. Other members of the community have welcomed us graciously, too. And business employees, not necessarily aware we’re newcomers—though they could probably guess from our Washington skin begging for a tan—are unfailingly polite and friendly.

But the adventure of my briefcase is the topper. There are lots of places in the world where an unattended briefcase would become someone else’s property in the blink of an eye. That could have happened here, too, but it didn’t.

I suspect there’s a two-word reason why a briefcase found its way back to its grateful owner.

Nice people.

Editor Pat Jenkins can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 227) or


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