A boy left his Buzz
Lightyear inside a
made it his mission to
Hagen Davis, 2, reuniting with his beloved
Buzz Lightyear action figure, which he accidentally left in an airplane. A
Southwest Airlines ramp agent returned it to him, along with photos and a
handwritten letter detailing Buzz’s mission while he was away. (Ashley Davis)
By Sydney Page
From the back seat of a rental car, a concerned 2-year-old boy
repeatedly asked his parents the same question: “Where’s Buzz?”
through the family’s luggage in search
of her son
’s beloved Buzz Lightyear action figure. It was
nowhere to be found. Hagen was
“To Hagen, it was the end of the world,” Davis, 31, said. “He wanted
his Buzz. He is super-
It was Jan. 30, and the family of three had just traveled from
, after booking a
flight to attend a
“My husband’s uncle passed away very suddenly. It was all very fast,”
said Davis, who was seven months pregnant at the time.
She calmly explained to her son that Buzz was on a “special mission”
and would return to him shortly. In other words, she was planning
to purchase a replacement toy at a nearby
Little did Davis know, though, that Buzz was, in fact, on a special mission, and
would soon be back.
Jason William Hamm
, a Southwest Airlines ramp agent at the Clinton
National Airport in
Little Rock, Ark.
an elaborate effort to return
Buzz to his rightful owner.
the reunion mission after
, an operations agent
at Southwest Airlines, discovered the toy in the aircraft, which had landed in
Little Rock after departing from Dallas.
“It was the last flight of the night, and we always have to go through and make
sure people don’t leave anything,” Buchanan, 56, said. “They always do.”
Little Rock is the capital and most populous
city of the U.S. state of Arkansas.
While sweeping through the
, she spotted the action figure and
noticed the name “
” inscribed on the bottom of Buzz’s boot in
permanent marker —
a nod to “Toy Story,”
since Andy writes his own name
on the sole of his toys’ shoes. Rather than tossing the stranded doll in the
, she decided to look through the passenger list.
“I was thinking about how this little boy is missing his little buddy,”
To mimic “Toy Story,” Hagen’s dad wrote his name on Buzz’s boot. He’s glad he did, since it’s the only reason the Southwest Airline employees managed to track down the little boy.
Hamm, 47, got involved in the search when he saw the toy sitting on
his colleague’s desk. After
the passenger list with
the name on the boot, they confirmed Buzz belonged to a 2-year-old
Elk Grove, Calif.
“Once we realized there was somebody connected to this toy, I
thought, I got to get it back to him somehow,” said Hamm.
Once they tracked down Hagen’s information, Hamm sent an email
to the family to let them know he located Buzz and wanted to return
him, asking for the best address to ship the toy to.
While waiting for a response, Hamm, who has worked at Southwest
Airlines for 10 years, got creative. He enjoys
decided if he was going to convince this little boy that Buzz was truly
on a mission, he would need photo evidence.
Jason William Hamm, a Southwest Airlines ramp agent, took photos of Buzz on the tarmac and around the plane in an effort to chronicle the action figure’s adventure for Hagen. (Jason William Hamm)
He took the action figure to the tarmac to
some pictures in various locations. He
positioned Buzz in front of an airplane, an
engine and, obviously, a
And he didn’t stop there.
“I thought it would be kind of cool to add a little
letter to make it look like Buzz was on a
mission,” Hamm said. “I thought it would be a
Of course, Hamm took photos of Buzz posing proudly in the cockpit. (Jason William Hamm)
In a space ranger-esque font, Hamm hand-wrote a letter to Hagen, complete with a Buzz Lightyear logo. “To Commander Hagen,” the letter reads. “I am very excited to return to you upon completing my
mission. I was able to explore the airport and
spaceport in Little Rock, Arkansas while I was away, and I have included photos of my adventure. My
journey has taught me a lot but I am so thankful to return to my buddy.”
He signed the note: “To infinity and beyond! Your buddy, Buzz Lightyear.”
Hamm wrote Hagen a letter
detailing Buzz’s mission in Arkansas. (Ashley Davis)
Once Hamm heard back from the Davis family — who said they were stunned to
receive the initial email that Buzz had been located — he put together a special package for Hagen.
Hamm printed out the photos he took, bubble-wrapped Buzz, and tucked in the handwritten letter. Then he decorated the exterior of the cardboard box with a
drawing of Buzz Lightyear, stars and planets, as well as classic “Toy Story” sayings, like “Not today, Zurg!” and, of course, “To infinity and beyond!”
Hamm decorated the exterior of the package with colorful drawings of Buzz Lightyear, planets and stars, plus classic “Toy Story” lines. (Ashley Davis)
“I wanted it to be a beautiful experience
when he opened it up,” Hamm said. “I
just thought he would love it. I had no
idea who he was, but I knew somebody
was missing Buzz, and was probably
Plus, “it was such a boring box. Why not
make it cool looking?” he added. “I was
smiling the whole time I was drawing. I
.”Inside the package, Hamm included
printed copies of several photos he had taken of Buzz on the tarmac and inside the aircraft. (Ashley Davis)
For Hamm, his own parenting experiences
him to “go the extra mile,” he said.
“I have an
son, and he gets attached to toys.
If he loses a toy, I know how hard it is for him,”
said Hamm, who has two children, aged 16 and 12.
“It’s the dad in me, I guess you could say,” he
Hamm sent the package
at his own expense
tracked the parcel until it finally arrived on
Hagen’s doorstep at the end of February.Jason William Hamm, 47, has worked at Southwest Airlines for 10 years. (Jason
Upon opening the package, Davis was speechless, she said. While she was relieved that Buzz was back, she did not anticipate he would return in a decorated box, complete with a handwritten note and printed photos.
“I cried when I opened it,” she said. “You could see all the love he put into it.” Once the tears subsided, Davis smiled, she said, thinking of all the people who got a kick out of the Buzz-themed package.
“I wonder how many people chuckled when they saw the box with Buzz on it, as it made its way to infinity and beyond, from Arkansas all the way to
California,” she said.
Hagen was thrilled, too. His excitement was caught on camera, and the couple sent a video of his reaction to Hamm.
“Thank you, Jason,” Hagen said,
eagerly to his newly returned toy.
Seeing the boy’s smile, Hamm said, made it all worth it.
“When they sent the video, that made me
. How can you not love that?”
Davis said she plans to keep the box, the card and photos in a special place for
Hagen, so he can always remember the kindness a stranger showed him.
“For Jason to go above and beyond for someone he did not know, and to take
that much time and effort, it’s just incredible,” she said.
Now that Hagen is reunited with Buzz, he will not let him out of his sight, his mother said. (Ashley Davis)