In 2015, while she was backpacking through Europe, Kayla Walters overslept on the day she was supposed to catch a train from Florence, Italy, to Nice, France.
She made the train, but her relief was cut short when she realized that in her rush to leave the hostel she had forgotten her iPad under a pillow on her bunk bed.
"There was no way of going back for it," Walters said in an interview with the St. John's Morning Show. "It was my main tablet at the time. You know, I used it for everything."
Six years later, on her birthday, Walters, originally from Marystown, received a surprise text from her mom: her iPad had miraculously returned.
Now that her iPad was finally back, Walters was presented with another mystery: who had returned the device, and why had it taken so long?
When she lost her iPad in 2015, Walters tried to retrieve it. After returning to Canada, she emailed back and forth with the owners of the Florence hostel, who eventually found her tablet.
The hostel owners asked her to send money to cover shipping expenses. Walters sent the money, but when the iPad didn't show up, she assumed it had gotten lost in transport. After a few months, she gave up hope.
"I just had to bite the bullet and replace it," she said.
When the iPad showed up unexpectedly last week, she looked up the person who sent it on Facebook. There was only one result: a man from Quebec.
She sent a message explaining her story and asking if he was the person who had sent the iPad, and sure enough, he was.
"He was so excited that it was him," Walters said.
It's a small world
The man was able to fill her in on the iPad's journey home.
The owners of the hostel in Florence had lost her address, but still had the address for the bank in Marystown from the bank note that she had sent. Fearing that the package would get lost in transit from Italy to Canada, they gave it to the man to mail it from Quebec, said Walters.
The man — who is in the military — explained that he intended to mail the iPad upon returning to Canada, but was deployed two days after returning home.
He told her that he recently went back to Quebec, discovered the iPad in a packing box, and finally sent it, not knowing if it would reach its owner.
A short time later, the iPad arrived at the Marystown bank where Walters' mother is employed — and she says it's still in working condition.
"It sounds completely surreal, like it only happens in the movies or, you know, to people I would never know on Facebook, but it happened to me and it was such an awesome experience. But to happen on my birthday, it was just that much cooler," Walters said.
She's been chatting with the man who sent the iPad, and discovered that his hometown is close to the town where her own family in Quebec is from.
"I just love that, you know, the world is just so, so small," she said.
Walters, who now lives in St. John's, still hasn't seen the iPad in person. She's excited to rediscover the notes and travel journal that she kept on the device.
She also says she's grateful that someone put in the effort to send the iPad after all these years.
"It's just amazing," Walters said. "To know that there's really good people in the world."