NEWARK, NJ(CBSNewYork) — Have you ever wondered what happens to that set of keys or the cellphone you accidentally left behind in the little bin at airport security checkpoints?
As CBS2’s Kris Van Cleave explained, there’s a team of TSA professionals assigned to reunite people with their lost items.
Matt Kelley’s watch belonged to his father who died when he was four. It’s band was a gift from his stepfather who lost a battle with cancer earlier this month.
Kelley was rushing home to Dallas the day his stepfather died and left the watch at a TSA checkpoint at Newark Airport.
“Kind of a gut punch. How could this one thing happen on this one day?” he said.
The watch ended up at a TSA lost and found, one of 18,000 items left at Newark’s checkpoints every year.
“All types of sunglasses, key and headsets, everything imaginable, anything you might leave when traveling,” TSA Customer Support Manager, Ofelia Ruiz said.
Ruiz’s job is to get the items back to their owners.
There is a drawer of driver’s licenses and passports, a closet full of jewelry, rows of coats, shelves of computers, bins of lost keys, even luggage.
“One to two bags are left behind on a daily basis,” she said.
The TSA holds onto the items for 30 days, but only about 10 percent of them are ever claimed.
“Tape your business cards to the back of your laptop. If we have an identifier, name and number, we are going to call you,” Ruiz said.
Kelley called the TSA after going online and finding the lost and found’s number on the agency’s website.
“It was great to have it back. It meant a lot to have it for the funeral that Friday,” he said.
The watch that brings back memories of the two men who shaped his life is once again back around his wrist and close to his heart.
The lost and found applies only to items left at checkpoints.
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