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Yellowknifers help stranded tourist make her way home

A Yellowknife B&B owner has thanked residents who helped a tourist get home after losing her passport.

Lona Hegeman, who runs the Arctic Chalet B&B, first contacted Moose FM on Monday night after taking in a stranded Japanese tourist.

The woman currently lives and studies in Toronto, but had taken a three-day trip to Yellowknife to see the northern lights – only to realize her passport had gone missing when she tried to start her journey back to Ontario.

Without her passport, she was denied boarding at the airport. That’s when she came knocking at Hegeman’s B&B.

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“She arrived here, she didn’t have her bags and she kept on falling down – she fell into a snowbank coming up, she fell on the walkway,” says Hegeman.

“She said, ‘I’ve lost my passport and I don’t know what to do.’ I looked at her documentation and thought, ‘This has to be possible.'”

While the tourist had no passport, she did possess her immigration papers, work permit and social insurance number.

But a call to the Japanese Embassy only resulted in the woman being asked to come to Calgary for further assistance – which Hegeman felt was impractical, given the distance involved and the tourist’s inability to board a flight.

Instead, Hegeman posted a note on the Moose FM Facebook page asking for help. By Tuesday morning, thanks to messages offering advice and help across the city, the tourist had successfully received a boarding pass and was waiting for her flight home.

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“A lot of people helped her out, and one of the main reasons was that everyone had heard the news story on Moose FM this morning,” said Hegeman, who would like to thank Elenore and Mike at the RCMP, along with Service Canada and Joe at WestJet.

“Service Canada got her social insurance number, pulled it up, did a background check and printed a letter. When we took that in, it worked and she was issued a boarding pass.

“It’s a very good feeling that people came together to help this young lady out.

“The only thing I did, that I’m feeling really good about, is I posted a little message on your website saying, ‘Does anyone have any ideas?’ And from there, things worked really well.”

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