CallUma founder Tony Partridge, 48, describes himself as the ‘Robin Hood of luggage’.
He is referring to both his former occupation of buying and selling lost luggage in the 1980s and the luggage-tracking service he now offers through CallUma.
“I used to buy luggage but now I give it back,” he says.
What started off as a trip to Gatwick’s lost luggage to find his own bag, turned into a business.
He recalls: “I paid £3 for a holdall and £4.50 for a suitcase. You would open up suitcases and sometimes find a wedding dress.”
After 11 years in the US, running a home security call centre business selling hurricane shelters and a short spell selling windows in the UK, Partridge decided semi-retirement in Spain was the answer.
However, it was a move that inspired the creation of CallUma in 2005, originally called Pass the Phone, which offered multi-lingual assistance. Uma stands for universal multi-lingual assistance.
Partridge says: “After a week in Spain my daughter became sick at 2am. Our villa was in the mountains, I didn’t have an emergency number and spoke no Spanish. In the end we found a doctor, but it was the most traumatic experience of my life.”
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