• Valentina's beloved American Girl doll, Beatrice, went missing after a family trip to Bali, Indonesia, causing her great distress.
  • The passenger's parents searched for a way to retrieve the doll and eventually turned to social media for help.
  • American Airlines First Officer James Danen came to the rescue, locating Beatrice in Japan and personally bringing her back to Texas to reunite her with Valentina.

An American Girl doll that meant the world to its owner found its way back after being stranded halfway across the globe, thanks to her parents' perseverance and the goodwill of a stranger.

Valentina Dominguez, a nine-year-old from Plano, Texas, arrived home after a fun-filled family trip to Bali, Indonesia, only to find that her doll was nowhere to be found. The family combed through every inch of their luggage, hoping to find the doll, but was disappointed.

The friend

In an interview with “Good Morning America,” Valentina spoke about how she felt about the situation, “[Beatrice] means a lot to me. She brings me happiness, and she’s my best friend. When she was missing, when we got settled into our hotel, I felt very bad. I felt like my heart was broken.”

Turkish Airlines 777-300ER take off
Photo: Fasttailwind I Shutterstock

Valentina received the doll as a gift from her grandmother when she was five years old and had become extremely attached to the toy and often called it her best friend. She spoke about her time with the doll, “Every time I come back from school, she’s just waiting there for me to pick her off the shelf and play with her. I’ve had a strong connection with her and really love her.”

Valentina’s parents, Rudy and Celeste, immediately began looking for ways to rectify the situation after seeing how distraught their daughter was. The Turkish Airlines flight the family was on had a layover in Tokyo, where they began their search. Celeste was able to locate the doll. However, they had no way to get it back:

“The airline called us and told us we could pick her up, but I said, ‘No, we’re not there anymore, just mail her to us… They said they couldn’t because of an international delivery thing, but we could have someone pick her up in Tokyo. We didn’t know anyone in Japan.”

Rudy and Celeste tried to find a service that could bring Beatrice back to them, but it proved to be too difficult. The parents then took to social media and posted about the lost doll, which is how American Airlines First Officer James Danen got involved.

The return

James has been flying since 1993 and is rostered to Toyko often. The veteran pilot contacted Turkish Airlines' lost-and-found at Haneda Airport and was able to locate Beatrice after two attempts.

On his next trip to Japan, James secured the doll and documented the trip back across various airports and flights as he brought it back to Texas. When asked why he went through the trouble, James said, "It's my nature. I like helping people ... that's just what I like doing."

An American Airlines aircraft
Photo: Benson Truong/Shutterstock.

Beatrice was reunited with a grateful Valentina three weeks after she was lost. The family was grateful to James and appreciated the pilot’s kindness and effort to change a little girl's life.

Dominguez said the experience has helped Valentina and her sister be more mindful of their belongings and taught them to help others when they can.

Source: The Dallas Morning News

  • American Airlines Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner From Above
    American Airlines has not had the slam dunk it was hoping for as Bangalore's first connection to the US in 2020. Photo: Vincenzo Pace - Simple Flying
    American Airlines
    IATA/ICAO Code:
    Airline Type:
    Full Service Carrier
    Charlotte Douglas International Airport, Chicago O'Hare International Airport, Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, Los Angeles International Airport, Miami International Airport, New York JFK Airport, LaGuardia Airport, Philadelphia International Airport, Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport
    Year Founded:
    Robert Isom
    United States