Girl reunited with lost doll after pilot flies it 9000km back home

A kind-hearted pilot has flown 9,000km from Japan to America to return a girl’s beloved doll after it was lost while she was travelling overseas

Pilot James Danen flew 9,000km to return a lost doll to American girl Valentina Dominguez. Picture: WFAA
Pilot James Danen flew 9,000km to return a lost doll to American girl Valentina Dominguez. Picture: WFAA


An American pilot has flown 9000km to return a girl’s favourite doll after she lost it while on holiday in Bali.

Nine-year-old Valentina Dominguez was on her way home from holiday with her parents Rudy and Celeste when she noticed her much-loved doll “Beatrice” was missing.

Beatrice had been left behind in Tokyo during a stopover on the way back to the family’s home in the US.

Thankfully, a kind-hearted professional pilot saw an online post from the parents asking if anyone had found the doll.

The American Airlines pilot, James Danen, put on his detective hat and started looking for clues.

American TV station WFAA-TV said Mr Danen contacted Turkish Airlines lost-and-found and was able to find Valentina’s American Girl doll.

Once he got the doll at Tokyo’s Haneda Airport, he began to take photos of the doll at the airport and on the plane to show Valentina that Beatrice was safe and on her way home.

The pilot took photos of the doll on her way home. Picture: WFAA
The pilot took photos of the doll on her way home. Picture: WFAA

“It’s my nature,” Mr Danen told WFAA. “I like helping people, that’s just what I do.

“I was really glad I could do something nice for somebody.”

Mr Danen, who lives only a few kilometres away from the Dominguez family, drove Beatrice to their home in Dallas once he’d landed and handed her back to Valentina.

He also gave the family some Japanese treats and a large map showing exactly where Beatrice had been.

“Thank you! Was she well behaved on the flight?” Valentina asked Mr Danen, to which he replied, “Very well behaved, yes”.

The doll had quite an adventure. Picture: WFAA
The doll had quite an adventure. Picture: WFAA

Valentina’s dad told WFAA the family had been very sad and panicked when they realised Beatrice was missing from their bags.

“Beatrice was a big part of our lives for the past three or four years,” he said. “I was feeling very sad, because she was very sad.

“There’s a lot of kindness in the world. (Mr Danen) is a kind man. He said he would do it, and he followed through.”

Happily reunited at last. Picture: WFAA
Happily reunited at last. Picture: WFAA

Valentina said she was “heartbroken” when she thought she’d lost Beatrice, but was giddy with delight when she got her back.

“Beatrice means a lot to me,” she told US news program Good Morning America.

“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.”

Mum Celeste told Good Morning America the ordeal had taught her daughter a very valuable lesson.

“When someone reaches out, help them out if you can.”



  • stop over: when you stop somewhere during a journey
  • reunited: when you meet up with someone after being away from each other for a long time
  • professional: someone who is paid to do the job
  • panicked: very worried
  • giddy: feeling light-headed
  • ordeal: a difficult time

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1. Where was Valentina’s lost doll ‘Beatrice’ found?
2. How far did pilot James Danen travel to return Valentina’s doll to her?
3. How did Mr Danen go about finding the doll?
4. What other two things did Mr Danen give Valentina when he returned her doll?
5. What valuable lesson did this teach Valentina?


1. Create a picture story
Create a picture story book based on Beatrice’s adventure. Use information in the story to help you.

Time: allow 60 minutes for this activity
Curriculum Links: English, Visual Communication Design

2. Extension
Imagine that you can interview Beatrice for a Kid’s News story. The purpose of your story is to find out how Mr Danen’s kindness made a difference. Write five questions that you would ask Beatrice. Then, write the answers that you think that she would give you.

Time: allow at least 20 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum Links: English, Personal and Social Capability

Letters from Beatrice
Valentina thinks she left her doll, Beatrice, on the plane, but what if Beatrice decided she wasn’t ready to stop her holiday just yet?

Write a holiday letter from Beatrice to Valentina. Let her know she is safe, but that she just wanted a few more adventures before heading home.

Which holiday destination do you choose for Beatrice?

Think about what you know about that place. Are there any landmarks or amazing foods to try while she is there? Maybe you can choose a destination you have been to before. It could be local, or a holiday. Then you can use your experience of the area to help you write the letter.

With a partner, discuss the format of a letter and what you are thinking of writing.

Edit and up-level: After writing, read through your letter aloud to yourself to make sure your ideas are clear, there are no omissions, and the writing makes sense. Next, you can check for any spelling or grammar mistakes that you can fix.

MENTOR TEXT: As a class, try reading Letters From Felix, The Jolly Postman, or Flat Stanley for inspiration.

Time: Allow at least 30 minutes to complete the task
Curriculum Links: English, Oral Language, Big Write, VCOP, HASS