A travel agent has been left stranded in Spain after her bag containing her passport and purse was stolen in Seville Airport before her flight home.
Denise Hodgson, of Travel the World2, was chatting with friends in an airport cafe after the Advantage Conference when an unidentified thief pinched her belongings on Monday afternoon.
Without any money or travel documents, Hodgson has been forced to stay in Andalusia since Monday.
She said: “I took my black leather bag off my back and lent forward to show [people] some photos.
“In those three minutes that I was showing people the photos my bag was taken.
“I was very distressed – it has been a nightmare. I had nothing – no wallet, no passport, no make-up and no brush for my hair.
“If I did not have my phone I would have been dead to the world.”
On Monday, Hodgson was due to fly home with Ryanair at 7.45pm but instead she had to try and obtain an emergency passport from the British consulate in Malaga – a three-hour drive from Seville.
She was told she would have to wait up to two days to receive an emergency passport.
However, the application process was delayed after issues arose over the passport photograph submitted by Hodgson and because she could not provide an onward travel ticket because she had no money to pay for a new flight home.
The Andalusia Tourist Office stepped in and booked Hodgson into a hotel for the night in Seville and organised a car to take her to Malaga to begin the process of getting an emergency passport.
It is understood that Advantage Travel Partnership helped foot the bill for a hotel in Malaga once Hodgson arrived.
Friend Carol Kirkham, of Kirkham Travel in Preston, was in Malaga on Wednesday after Fred Olsen Cruise Lines ship Boudicca docked in the city. She lent 300 euros to Hodgson.
Kirkham is one of a number of industry figures including Typically Holidays’ Tony Byrne and Paula Lacey, Advantage’s group commercial membership director, to have helped Hodgson during her ordeal.
Hodgson, who will fly home from Malaga Airport on Friday (May 24) with easyJet, said she will always keep emergency cash in her suitcase to avoid a repeat of her experience.
Hodgson also thanked an official from the Andalusia Tourist Office called “Antonio” for his efforts.
“[Antonio] saved me from a terrible situation,” she said. “He was just fantastic.
“He said that he would get me to Malaga and told me not to worry about anything.”
Hodgson said she was “grateful” for the messages and offers of support on social media since the incident.
“I am so lucky that I have had all these people help me,” she said. “I am so grateful to them. I cannot say how distressing it was.”
This is a community-moderated forum.
All post are the individual views of the respective commenter and are not the expressed views of Travel Weekly.
By posting your comments you agree to accept our Terms & Conditions.