A lost passport during vacation abroad is a real nightmare. Not only will it disrupt your travel plans significantly, it can lead you into a spiral of panic.
During a four-day trip to Kuala Lumpur in July along with 60 IT professionals, I had to face the consequences of losing my family’s four passports — my two children, wife and myself. We lost our bag containing the passports due to our tour guide’s negligence and this we found out only after reaching the airport for the return flight.
We filed an FIR for lost passports and the baggage at the KL Airport Police Station and returned to our hotel. We were in desperate need of guidance on how, where and whom to meet to get back our passports and belongings as all government offices were closed the following weekend. That’s when Rotary came to our rescue. Through Facebook we contacted Rtr Zareef and asked him the contact details of the local Rotary club’s president. Zareef promptly helped us.
Soon, Rotary Club of Kuala Lumpur DiRaja President Zed Zariman (RID 3300) gave a call and came to meet us at our hotel along with Rtn Syed Rezda Shah. They assured us of all help and that they would be taking care of the necessary work to retrieve our passports with the baggage.
Zariman circulated our details on their Rotary group and all their members readily came forward to help us. Rtn Dato Ram Nair put forward our situation to the King of Malaysia and soon his secretary called me up to get details of my case.
Our official exit procedures were okayed in no time, thanks to a proper guidance from the Indian High Commissioner Anuragh Singh.
On Monday morning, within two hours we received our Emergency Certificates (white passport) and completed our exit pass procedure. We were back in India on Monday night. This is the ‘Power of Rotary’. This incident only proves that Rotary is one big global family of strangers.
Zariman helped us in every way so that we could reach home as soon as possible. His friendliness and spontaneity in handling the situation will always be remembered.
Rezda Shah was with us for two days and helped us in getting our passport photos done, the online application form procedure, and in filing another FIR. He had been with us at the airport till late night on Sunday as he searched at the lost and found department and following it up with immigration officers.
We are grateful to Rezda as he even took our children to Genting Highlands so that they could enjoy and forget the stress. My children enjoyed his company and we are looking forward to meeting him again.
Though we had a harrowing experience of losing our passports and the baggage, we are grateful to Rotarians for their timely help. This had built new relationships in KL for us. Rotary is indeed an extended family worldwide.
(The author is a member of RC Bharuch, RID 3060)