In this Crazy Tour Stories segment, the indie artist, Jeremy Voltz, shares one of his stories from being on the road. You can check out the story below:
This story has a happy ending only because it's Japan. When we were coming back from our third tour there, we had a few extra hours at the Haneda airport in Tokyo. Two of our group decided to leave and go check out the Ramen museum in Yokohama (yes, that exists). When they got back to the airport, regaling us with ramen facts, there were still a couple hours till our flight... plenty of time. Except when one of the museum-goers realized in a panic that he left his jacket on the bus. His wallet, and more importantly his passport, were in the pocket of that jacket.
Panicking, we go to the airport information help desk and use a translator app on our phone to explain the problem. Our friend has left his passport on a Tokyo city bus. Which bus? No idea. The information desk lady gets to work. I assume her usual day is pointing people towards the washrooms. Not today. She finds the number for and calls the Tokyo city bus dispatch.
Now if you don't know, Japanese buses are on time. Always. They do not deviate from the schedule for any reason. Even getting bus drivers to stop and check for a jacket is a big ask, and they won't unless they can do it while adhering perfectly to the schedule.
The city dispatcher calls the driver of every bus that travels from the airport to the Ramen museum. Within twenty minutes a bus driver calls back saying he sees something that "might be a jacket in the back" but can't get up to check due to the schedule. It was the best lead we had.
After relaying this to us through the translator app, the information desk woman then worked with the Tokyo transit coordinator to triangulate a future stop of this bus that would be within a taxi ride from the airport... and they found a stop twenty minutes away from the airport that the bus would be at in a half hour. My bandmate jumps in a cab to the bus stop, we stay with the information desk woman.
He gets to the bus stop a few minutes before it arrives. When the bus pulls up he sprints onto the bus (lo and behold it WAS his jacket), grabs it, jumps back in the taxi, gets back to the airport, goes through security and boards the plane with six minutes to spare.
When we told the information desk woman that he had his passport, that the plan worked... she cried tears of joy. And then I couldn't help tearing up at just how hard she had worked to help us, and how deeply she cared. And that has been the takeaway every time we've visited Japan. The kindness and generosity is overwhelming. In fact, my mate who recovered his passport was inspired to write a song that begins:
We learned the word to say, "I humbly receive,"
But how could they prepare us for the hand that came
When a thousand perfect strangers' arms opened
Or the smallest fingers opened up a paper crane?
There's no chance in hell my friend would have made that flight in any other country but Japan.