Getting Back My Lost Bag in Germany


Story on Mar 8 – 9th 2018

The moment when I lost my whole bag in Stuttgart with two cellphones, one camera, wallet, and.. residence card + passports inside was really draining me. Many parties were involved in this case, from hotel receptionist to information-desk staff in the train service office. I got ambiguous information from one party and another which made picking my bag is longer than finding bag itself. Yes, even though I disappointed with the security of the city after I found nothing when I came back to suspected location soon after happening, my doubt was also quickly gone within one hour later when I got news via phone that my bag had been saved by the authorities. WOW!

LOST AT MIDNIGHT

That day, I was super tired after duet Swiss trip with my son. Our bus arrived at Kornwestheim station nearly midnight. My husband picked us and helped me to handle Musa. While waiting for the train to go back to our hotel, we took a rest by sitting next each other in the platform. I didn’t remember how I put my bag in the bench, but I can recall that I strolled around to kill the time and made my body warmer. It was very cold at that time and because midnight, only a few trains coming in an hour. When I was still walking sleepily here and there, my hubby suddenly headed me while pushing Musa’s stroller, leaving his sit too. Soon afterwards, the train was coming and we rode it. Inside the train we chatted each other like nothing wrong happened. We arrived at the hotel, came in to the room, and…… I knew my bag was not with us. Nobody remembered with the bag during the moment!!!

I got panic.

My short thought wanted me to go back to the station right now, but Aisar reminded me that the train had finished so although I could go to Kornwestheim, I wouldn’t get train back to Nordbahnhof, the closest station to our hotel. Taxi! Why not? Aisar didn’t agree because as his experience it couldn’t take credit card, whereas we ran out of euro cash. He suggested me to wait until the morning came.

However, how could I wait?

I decided to solve it by myself. I went down to receptionist and asked his help. He said he could call taxi and they could accept CC. Ok, I wanted to try. At that time, I felt quite sure that my bag was still there. Because why? My assumptions: It’s very late, almost nobody there, all the stores already closed, the officers weren’t working anymore, etc. who would care with a red cute bag left in the bench?

I was wrong.

When I was finally back to the station and checked all the location, my bag was missing! I randomly asked a man who’s waiting for the train, “Is it safe here? What do you think about my bag”, he said “Probably somebody took it”. Oh, Gosh! My bad, I thought negatively too soon. I was pesimistic if there’s somebody who bothered to pick my heavy bag in order to return it to the police or so. I went back to the hotel with mixed feeling. The taxi driver showed his empathy. He called his boss and invited me to talk to him (because he couldn’t speak English well yet his boss was good). The taxi boss suggested me to go back to the hotel because somebody might return it to my address, or call police. I asked how safe it is in Stuttgart so I had chance for getting back my bag. He told me, “I can’t make sure, but this city is safer than other cities.” Okay.. I was relieved.

SAID IT’S FOUND, BUT…

At the hotel, I asked the man in the receptionist again. He tried to call local police of Kornwestheim where I lost my bag, but they’re closed already. Then, he called bundes polizei. I saw hope when he wrote down an address and time.. something in German.

Receptionist: “They found your bag”

Me: “What? Really? Where” (I was surprised)

Receptionist: “It’s in Stadtmitte Station aufsicht, they’re open since 5.30 AM”

Me: “But.. how could the find it?” (silly question detected)

Receptionist: “I don’t know.. maybe someone brought it there”

Me: “Hmm.. what is aufsicht? Is it kind of lost and found?”

Receptionist: “Hmm.. no, but maybe it’s related.” (looked like he never heard it too)

Me: “Okay.. thank you so much! It’s so helpful.”

I slept. Of course after packing our luggage because at that day we had to leave Germany for France at 3 PM. Could you imagine how confused I was when I lost my bag meanwhile we wouldn’t back to the city again? I imagined if my passport was really gone, if my son’s American passport never came back, if the Japan’s residence cards of me and my son were really missing.. we might not only go to France, but unable to enter Japan anymore, need to reapply everything bla bla bla.

Alhamdulillah it wouldn’t happen. That’s what I thought at that time (before I doubted again later.. bare my story ahead).

I woke up early. Aisar needed to leave for office at 7.30 AM. Beforehand, I had to claim my bag and take over Musa again, then all of us would meet again at the station to go to Paris. Seemed everything was going to be smooth.

But it’s not.

THE SAVE KEEPING LOCATION IS NOT CLEAR

Aufsicht. The word I won’t forget forever.

In total, I then spent SIX hours just to figure out what it is and where it is. The main problem is not all Germany is familiar with the place named “Aufsicht”, just like the hotel staff, even when I asked cleaning service, ticket, etc. working in the station, they had no idea. Very strange.

After wandering around inside and outside the station, I decided to go back to hotel since it’s almost 7 AM. I found a supermarket, went in, and asked a staff. I don’t care, anyone who can help was welcome. He suggested me to come to police station nearby.

At the police station, my hope rose when police confirmed there were some lost bags the kept and one of them was red, but unfortunately it’s not mine. They didn’t understand Aufsicht as well and instead, gave me contact for “station police”. Oh, well.

I went home first to the hotel, packed our belongings, and picked Musa. Aisar finished the check out procedure, then we took train to different direction.

AUFSICHT WAS EXISTED, BUT NOT WITH MY BAG

Stadtmitte Station again. As the police suggested, I came to police office in the middle of station passage. There were two policemen there and they were really helpful (at first). I told my problem and handed them the notes in my hand, asking for any clue to find the place called “aufsicht”. One of them answered without doubt that I have to go to the platform and check a cubed room in the middle of the platform.

S-Bahn Platform. It’s there. “Aufsicht” is written. My Gosh! Finally T_T

However, why was nobody inside? I was waiting for 10 minutes, 15 minutes, then 30 minutes… no one replied to my calling via installed intercom outside that “room”. I saw some panels, microphones, chairs, and clothing, but not human. Too early for lunch break, huh? So, where were the staffs? In such big station, I could’t believe it existed. Aufsicht should be place for station master to watch the train flow as well as passengers point to reach if they wanted to ask something about schedule, trouble in train ride, and of course lost and found. Frankly said, it is equal to Midori no Mado Guchi (Green Window and Door) in Japanese Railway (JR) stations. Very crucial I think… but why? I tried to kill the time by giving Musa snacks and going upstairs-downstairs alternatively. It was not easy period to handle active toddler while my mental screwed.

After more than one hour I sneaked inside the Aufsicht, using the intercom, and failed to see any staff coming, I came back to the policemen to tell them about the situation. They said they unable to contact any staff too because Aufsicht is belonged to the train company, not the station management, then IDK why they became rude afterwards and showed dislike face such wanting to say “this is out of our responsibility, I had helped you anyway”. Meh! Seeing no hope, I decided to take a break first to get some lunch for us. Only 3 hours left before departing to France 😐

BACK TO THE CENTRAL STATION

It’s been four hours (8.00-12.00) since we started seeking for my lost bag. Musa was a good boy so far until we went back to Hauptbahnhof (Central Station) for lunch. I had no idea when deciding to go there, except I’ve been familiar with the restaurants than those in Stadtmitte. Surprisingly, I found a bright spot here instead. When passing DB Kundencenter (kind of customer service office for purchasing special tickets etc.), I stopped by randomly to ask the staff who was doing campaign at the desk in front of that office. I didn’t expect too much since she seemed like not in capability to give me clue, but.. she turned out my savior!

From her, I got information that there’s a central “lost and found” office in Hauptbahnhof where the missing items from other stations are collected. Short story, based on her navigation, I finally arrived at the “central lost and found” (uh forgive me for not remembering the term in German) which is ‘hidden’ behind a number of lockers and still with doubt, I asked to the staff about my bag. The staff, an old man, investigated me. I mentioned the type, color, brand, and items inside. He went to behind of desk for a moment, and came back with my bag!!! MashaAllah, Allahuakbar T_T

ALL MY BELONGINGS WERE STILL IN ITS PLACE AND NOTHING WAS LOST!
Thanks for being honest, Deutschland! I respect your people 🙂

Around 1 PM, while shedding tears I looked for electrical outlets in the station because I needed to charge my phone (totally shut down while my bag lost) and send the news to Aisar that we’re ready for Paris within two hours.

Now I can say that despite increasing immigrants an although not as much Japan, Germany is still a safe country I can count, but losing something precious like me? God forbid!

 

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