I am in Bangkok this week and I am flying back tonight to Singapore. The last thing on the agenda was visiting two suppliers and then take the red-eye flight. I checked out of my hotel in the morning, met my colleagues and we took a cab from the hotel to the first supplier.
Once we arrived there I stepped out of the cab and walked with confident, fast steps into the building, all important and all manager style and so. Or like a douche. Either way, this approach usually works for me to set a certain expectation and the meeting and visit we had were productive and successful. I had to leave for my next supplier visit early. I left my colleagues behind and got onto another cab. Someone from the supplier explained the driver in Thai where to take me and off we went.
But we did not go far.
Just at the gate I had a shocking realization…
Leo: Wait a sec… where’s my luggage?!
Yep, I am a moron: in the morning I had checked out of the hotel. Someone from the hotel staff put my trolley into the trunk of the cab and when I arrived at the supplier (all important and manager and being the shit and so), I simply forgot to get my trolley out of the back. My luggage was also the only one in the trunk, so nobody else had a need to check for items in there.
So now I was sitting in another cab and realized I had screwed up. I asked the driver to turn around and take me back to the building I had just left from. I was not really sure what I expected or what I wanted to do, but I obviously could not continue with the next visit like that.
My mind was running in circles. Somewhat along these lines:
- Okay, my trolley is gone. Shit!
- But I have all my travel documents and valuable items on me. I can get my flight tonight. Good.
- When did I get off that cab? 2 hours ago? 3 hours ago?
- Ah, shit! It’s the good trolley!
- But I have my passport, my iPad Pro and my laptop. Good.
- Aaargh! My nice trolley is gone! Shit!
- But what’s inside the trolley… dirty laundry. Ok. Sweaty running clothes. Ok. Some nice shirts. Sigh. Ok. Chargers for iPhone, iPad, AppleWatch. Shit… but all duplicates, so not a disaster. Ok. Ah, *@#!% – my running shoes!
- Where can I find running shoes my size in Singapore?!
And so on and then from the top again. Like I said: I pretty quickly accepted that there was no way I would get my trolley back. I mean it’s fricking Bangkok after all. If this happened to me in Stuttgart, I would not expect to get my luggage back either. Plus: I did not have any information about the cab anyway. When you take a ride in Bangkok you usually do not get receipts, so there’s really no way to figure out which cab you’ve used.
Now I was back at the supplier and told everyone about my predicament. My colleagues and the guys at the supplier were great: they immediately were on the case. They called the hotel to check whether they normally note down cab numbers. They also called the cab company the hotel is using regarding lost and founds. And so on, and so on…
The first checks basically confirmed what I knew in my heart already: nobody could trace that cab with the information we had and there was nothing we could do. Aside from hoping that the driver would notice the luggage later and report it later.
All these checks were done by my Thai colleagues and the supplier and the only thing I could do was wait for whatever they would find out. I was not really stressed about it, given that I had all my important items and documents on me. As I was standing there, I was mostly stunned of how careless I had been, however.
And then the colleague who had paid the cab ride to get here had an epiphany. I wrote above that you normally do not get receipts after cab rides in Bangkok, even if you request for one. As it turns out, that particular driver had not only suggested to provide a receipt which stated the name of the cab company, of course, but had also given out his name card and phone number.
Wow – this basically does not happen. Ever. Ever!
One of my colleagues called the driver and after some back and forth whether my luggage was in the trunk or not, my colleague confirmed that, yes, the driver had my luggage. And that he accepted to bring it to my company’s Bangkok plant which is nearby to the next supplier I wanted to visit later today anyway.
Guys, I am not sure you can appreciate how absolutely mad and improbable this is. How f#$%@&*! crazy lucky I was!
While I was still not sure whether everything would play out well, there was nothing more that could be done and I hopped on the next cab and drove to the following meeting. I told the colleagues I met there about the situation and they helped inform plant reception and other colleagues in the plant to accept the luggage should I not be around and also pay the fee of 500 Baht the driver had requested. This amount is a lot for a simple driving service in Thailand (roughly the equivalent of 20 SGD) but I would have paid 1000 Baht if this is what it would have taken, of course.
I finished business and then drove to the plant. It was 4:30 pm and time to go to the airport to catch my flight back to Singapore. I had been messaged in the meantime that a luggage had been indeed dropped off at the reception of the plant. Cool, but I was secretly wondering whether whatever had been delivered would really be my trolley. I was doubtful. And I was not sure I really deserved to be that lucky.
I got to the plant, walked to reception.
Yes, this is my trolley! It seemed like nobody had tried to open it (but then again I had not locked it either) and I confirmed nothing was missing.
Unbelievable! I got on the next ride to the airport, perfectly on time to make it to my flight home.
How stupid and how lucky can you be? Even in this situation where somehow all the stars aligned for me to get my luggage back I have to say that I was incredible lucky to have the help of many awesome people. They talked to the hotel, the cab company and eventually the driver to negotiate the return of the trolley. I don’t speak Thai, so there is no way I would have gotten far without that help, even with the phone number of the cab driver. Thank you!
My flight is going to board soon.
Till then I’ll continue to marvel about what just happened and be simply happy about it.