Rail staff know how bad it feels to lose an item during your travels.

Realising you’ve left something on a train can be a gut-wrenching moment that brings tears to your eyes and makes you wish you could turn back time. Thankfully, though, lost property services in Japan are thorough, efficient, and, as Twitter user GIraFFE (@Natt82009413) recently discovered, full of heartwarming empathy for the customer.

The story begins when GIraFFE left their favourite travel tumbler behind on a Shinkansen bullet train in Japan’s Hokuriku region. After returning home and contacting the rail operator, they were informed that the tumbler had been found and was waiting at Toyama Station for them, which was great news, although there was one small problem…GIraFFE was now at home in the Kanto region.

▼ The Kanto region (which includes Tokyo and its surrounding prefectures) is around 400 kilometres (249 miles) away from Toyama Station.

A trip back to Toyama Station would involve a considerable amount of time and money, so GIraFFE requested the item be sent to their home address via cash on delivery, a service offered by most railways in Japan.

GIraFFE was happily reunited with the lost drinking flask a few days later, but that wasn’t the only thing to arrive in the mail, as the item came neatly wrapped in protective packaging, along with a message card so special they snapped a photo of it.

The message card actually looks like a train ticket, but with some very sweet changes written into its design. At the top, it says ”Limited Express Ticket for the Delivery Item“, while in the middle, it has the journey written as “Toyama Station ➙ Customer“.

Beneath is a sentence that reads, “Our customer’s precious item, delivered” and on the right is a red stamp, usually used to mark the ticket at the end of a journey, but here it reads, “Delivery Complete. Please Come Again. Toyama Station.” As a nice touch, the “Please come again” is written as “Mata, Korare”, which is the local dialect used in Toyama.

▼ But that’s not all — on the back, there’s a heartwarming message from the train station.

The message on the back reads:

“Thank you very much for routinely using JR West Japan.

We have sent your valuable item that we were looking after for you at Toyama Station. Please feel free to check it.

We understand the anxiety this must’ve caused you, but we are also happy that we could hand this over to you safely.

We pray that you won’t miss your precious items so you can travel with peace of mind when you use us in future.

Please return again to Toyama, which is brimming with charm.”

GIraFFE’s heart swelled with joy at the heartwarming message card, saying:

“All the Toyama Station staff are wonderful! Next time, I’m going to make it my destination!”

People online were quick to agree, leaving comments like:

“I’m definitely going to visit Toyama as soon as the pandemic is over!”
“What a wonderful story!”
“This makes me want to visit Toyama right now!”
“Such a fantastic way of returning lost items to the customer!”
“I love this so much – so heartwarming!”

Some commenters also shared stories of their own lost items being returned with heartwarming message cards adorned in train-themed design elements from other stations in Japan, reminding everyone of the importance placed on the customer’s experience when using the railways. Message cards like these help to turn a bad experience into a positive one, ensuring fond memories of a trip aren’t tarnished by an unhappy event like a lost item.

So if you ever leave something behind on a Japanese train, don’t fret — chances are, it’ll be returned to you safely, even if it’s cash, and you might just get a sweet message card from the rail staff, who know how bad it can feel to lose a precious item.

Source: Twitter/@Natt82009413 via Net Lab
Top Image: Pakutaso
Insert images: Twitter/@Natt82009413

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