So this is a little post about what happens if you hire me as your private investigator, or you put me into ‘shit im desperate mode’, I always find solutions!
I’m currently in Norway working at Trollstigen Camping and Gjestegard. I’m the receptionist/booking person/phone answering machine/whatever is thrown at me person… Anyways back to my little story. I was working away when an employee called me from the restaurant at the top of the mountain where I work.. I’m located at the bottom of this mountain! He said a lady had left her bus and the bus had then driven off without her. FULL PANIC mode kicks in… We need to stop the bus!!! I run outside to the main road and wait for this big red bus, hoping to stop it before they escape too far. There comes the bus, right in front of me… I wave, stand in the middle of road, sign with my hands to force it to stop, BUT the driver doesn’t slow down. I move out the way before he runs me over and makes dog food out of me. The driver looks stupidly at me and continues driving whilst the passengers wave back at me, a crazy person standing in the middle of the road with work clothes on… Shocked and confused that the people on this bus just think its normal for Norwegians to stand in the middle of the road waving, I called the guy at the top of the mountain and let him know what had happened. He drove this poor woman to the bottom of the mountain so we could start our mission: STOP THAT BUS!
This woman had left the bus for a few minutes and when she returned, found out they had left without her. ALL her belongings were on the bus. She stood in front of me with her passport, camera and the clothes on her body. NO mobile, NO money and NO insulin injection, all left on the bus. She was travelling alone and did not know where she was staying the next two nights or where she had stayed the night before. All she knew was that the bus was heading direction Oslo (may I add that this is a 6 hours long journey) and the group was leaving back home two days later.
The following points are who we called and our train of thoughts that led us through this journey as a private investigator (working underpaid):
- Company. We called the company but they were closed on Saturdays, and had no emergency number we could call.
- Facebook, Linked-In, Twitter were all checked for alternative phone numbers for the company. None found.
- Tour guide had a name that linked to a Facebook page, but no number. We checked for his name in a local phone guide, but 6 people had the same name. 3 people didn’t answer and we gave up.
- Trollveggen. We called the next tourist magnet and asked them about this big red bus, but they hadn’t seen it…
- Bjorli Petrol Station. A petrol station located 45 min down the road was a toilet/fuel ‘maybe’ stop, so we informed them to keep an eye out for a big red bus.
- Police. If anyone can stop that bus, it would be the police… Unfortunately the police was VERY busy with a fire and could not (or rather was not bothered) attend to this minor problem we had.
- Embassy. We called the womans embassy but opening hours were monday to friday… Saturday they need to rest their embassy brains and cannot answer phone calls. No emergency numbers available…
AAAHHHHHH people, help me here… This woman was terrified… She was positive that this guide had left her on purpose and nobody was going to come back for her and she didn’t have any money… She was stuck and relied on our help to find this bus… It was a very stressful situation, because I felt like I had this womans life in my hands… It was up to me to get her reunited with a big red bus full of people who didn’t want to be reunited with her.
We got to a point where we realised that no matter how many people we call, nobody could really help us except the guide or driver of that bus… If or when they realised that this woman was missing from their bus, hopefully they would come back looking for her… While I sat there waiting, I saw the desperation in her eyes, and imagined how awful it would have been to be in this situation: relying on other people’s help in a foreign country.
We went through where she had been previously that day, to find a place that maybe had an emergency number for this company. They had left the hotel at 07:30 and arrived at our restaurant at 12:00. The problem is that we named all these places nearby and she looked at us as if we were speaking chinese… We were in fact speaking English…
She told us the following: We stayed in a hotel that was by the sea, two floors high and had 2 wooden trolls (norwegian monsters) in the garden… Not easy when we are talking about over 300 hotels in this area..
We called two waterfront hotels in Geiranger but none of them had trolls in their garden.
We looked through her camera and she showed us photos of where they had been. There was a glacier near the hotel and I remembered the name of this. We checked google map and found out it was near Stryn. We called a few hotels in Stryn and asked if they had trolls in their garden and had a bus sleep their last night.. None of the 5 hotels had. The last hotel I called said they knew about a hotel that had trolls in their garden and gave me their number. I called this hotel and they HAD trolls in their garden and they HAD had a bus group the night before. The receptionist even remembered the woman, he had helped her with her luggage!
AY CARAMBA, what a coincidence! I have never loved a phone call as much as that one… I felt like I had just given birth to all this extra information that would help us solve the ‘lost woman’ mystery.
The receptionist called the company, who got in touch with the guide. They had stopped at a place about 2 hours away, so they sent a taxi to come pick up the ‘lost woman’ which would take her to the big red bus!
Now I wonder… How did the guide not see she was missing? How did the passengers not see she was missing? Why did no one react to the crazy person (me) standing in the middle of the road waving? Why did they not come back to get her, when they realised? Or did they not realise?
Anywho the woman was sooo thankful… A thousand hugs were given to us and she went on her way to be re-united with a big red bus… She said that before she came to Norway she thought all Norwegians were cold people, but after all we did she realised they are the kindest people she has ever met.
P.S. I didn’t tell her that the guy who drove her down was Czech, that I grew up in Spain, and the two others guys that helped me were Australian and British…
Just a normal day at work! NOT (Thank God…)
Local news and newspapers thought this was interesting and published my story online…