A hat traveling 700+ miles reunites with Ark. boy

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FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA) — A Fayetteville boy will soon be reunited with a prized possession and it’s all thanks to a stranger he quickly befriended on a plane ride.

Nine-year-old Owen Tschepikow and his family were on their way back from visiting his grandparents in Florida.

Courtesy of Jennifer Tschepikow

Jenny Trettin, who is from Hutchinson, Minnesota, sat next to Owen on the plane.

They developed an unlikely friendship over a deck of cards.

“I had them in my backpack because I’m a cancer patient myself, and I had spent a lot of time in chemotherapy,” Trettin said. “That’s how we would pass our time.”

Jenny & her hospice pet Raina

She was really nice, she entertained me, and she played cards with me.

Owen Tschepikow, 9-years-old

Jenny was diagnosed with Stage 4 colon cancer in 2016, but four days before meeting Owen she got the news she was cancer-free.

“My trip was a little bit of a celebration trip,” Jenny said. “Honestly he was the topping on the cake for the weekend.”

Owen’s mother, Jennifer, said when the plane landed in Atlanta, they had to rush to get to their flight home, and Owen accidentally left behind his favorite hat.

Courtesy of Jennifer Tschepikow

By the time Jenny noticed Owen’s hat, it was too late.

“The whole time I was running to my gate I thought, ‘how am I going to get this back to him?‘ Jenny said. “I don’t know where he lives, I don’t know his last name, I don’t know anything about him other than his name and what he likes to do.”

Jenny tried to get help from Delta so she could return the hat, but she had no luck.

She decided to share her story on social media, and within a day she was able to find Owen’s mother and now he’s going to get his hat back.

“I wanted to make sure I got his hat back to him,” Jenny said. “I know my kids have special things like that and ‘I thought what if this hat was one of those things?’

Courtesy of Jennifer Tschepikow

Thank you for giving my hat back, and being supportive, and playing cards with me on the plane.

Owen Tschepikow, 9-years-old

Jenny’s full post read:

I NEED YOUR HELP! You see this hat belongs to a little man named Owen that is 9 years old and he and his family(mom, dad and brother) are from Arkansas (obviously a Razorbacks fan)I sat next to him on the plane last night! They vacationed ar Mirimar Beach, FL. The rest of his family sat in the row behind us( me and my sister, Molly). I think at first he was a little nervous sitting by me and not with his family! When we got stuck sitting on the plane for 40 minutes because everything was grounded in Atlanta due to weather, Owen and I chatted and I taught him how to play Kings Corners! He said to me, “what a good idea to bring cards along”! We played 3 rounds until we were cleared for take off! To which he said, we can play again when we get in the air! So as we leveled out he looked at me and said, “so do you want to play cards?” So I got then back out again! This time he wanted to play war! We got through the first round and he looked at me and he was literally a different shade of color! He said, “you know, I’ve never felt this terrible playing cards before”. 😂. He then proceeded to throw up (in a bag) and when he was done…..looked at me as said, “I think it might have been the oysters I ate!” 😂😂😂😂. I asked him when he ate them and he said yesterday! I then told him it wasn’t the oysters! The plane ride was a rough one! Lots and lots of turbulence and the pilot kept slowing down and then speeding up! All which I’m sure didn’t sit well with the Swedish Fish he ate prior to me talking to him! 😂😂. When he was done vomiting, he fell sound asleep on my arm and when he left in a flash (because they still had hope to catch their flight) he left behind his hat that I didn’t notice until I tripped on it getting out of my seat! He was long gone and now I want him to have his hat back! In the short time we got to chat, I learned he plays football(quarterback), baseball (pitcher and shortstop), basketball (wing)! He’s a Kansas City Chiefs fan (and was before they won the Super Bowl), he’s a Chicago Bulls, and Golden State Warriors fan and he’s a LA Dodgers fan! He had a #15 on his backpack that was blue and silver! I’ve tried Delta and they were no help and it pretty much sounded like it would end up in a warehouse of lost stuff somewhere! I know his parents will probably but him a new one, but I want him to have this one! What if it was his lucky hat? What if he got it from a grandpa and grandma? What if it’s his favorite hat? What if, what if! I know the internet works in mysterious ways, but if you will like and share this post……maybe, just maybe I can get him his hat back!

Jenny Trettin, Facebook Post

Jenny said she is working on sending Owen back his hat and is adding a few of his favorite things to go along with it.

She said she’s even adding a little something for Owen’s younger brother, Ellis.

“I am just so thankful to have met her,” Jennifer (Tschepikow) said. She’s such a sweet person.”

This isn’t really about any of us, this is about what our world needs to get back to — being kind to people and treating people like we would want ourselves to be treated.

Jenny Trettin, Sat by Owen



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Aaron Nolan is a morning show co-host in Little Rock, Arkansas with Nexstar Media Group's KARK-TV. He has a passion for social media and makes it an important part of his daily routine. Click here to read Aaron's full bio.

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Aaron Nolan is a morning show co-host in Little Rock, Arkansas with Nexstar Media Group's KARK-TV. He has a passion for social media and makes it an important part of his daily routine. Click here to read Aaron's full bio.

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