What happens to your personal effects when you forget them on a train or at a concert? In the case of the former, the chances are they will find their way to a brightly-lit storage room at Luxembourg City train station.
Photo: Maison Moderne/Patricia Pitsch
There, behind the left luggage area are shelves packed with orphaned gloves, umbrellas, hats, jackets, scooters, shopping bags, school bags and sports bags. When we visit on 20 March the room contains items gathered from CFL trains and buses over the past two months.
Each item is conscientiously logged in a database with a description and the transport it was found on and then labelled. It is then sorted by type of item and placed in boxes by date order.
There is never a dull day at the office as cleaning staff hand in wallets, keys, passports and even a sex toy that was once left on a train.
“Yesterday we received the money and passport of an American tourist from a TGV. The telephone number was inside but we couldn’t reach them,” luggage agent Giancarlo Martucci told Delano, adding: “I hope they have gone directly to the police.”
As with anything valuable like wallets, phones and ID cards handed in, CFL staff pass them on to the police twice a week. Martucci says it makes his day when he is able to reunite people with their possessions but even with the best will, it is not always possible.
“Yesterday, a cleaning team member brought in a empty wallet they found in a bin on the train,” he said, adding that pickpocketing means a large number of wallets find their way to the lost property. Items which remain unclaimed after two months, are discarded or given to charity, some helping the homeless and others going to collections in Africa, for example.
“You find everything!”
The amount of lost property found at the Philharmonie may not be enough to fill a room but the variety of objects is just as diverse and never ceases to surprise head ushers Elisabeth Sousa and Sylvia Hanzen who, between them, have worked at the venue for 20 years collectively.
“It’s funny, often people come back immediately because they notice straight away they’ve lost something like car keys, for example. Other times, especially at the kids’ events, they’ll forget their hat, scarf, socks, shoes. You find everything!” Hanzen told Delano on 23 March. “We often wonder why people don’t claim them. Had it been a child’s blanket, they would have been back like a shot!”
When staff first find a forgotten item at the Philharmonie, it is kept in the cloakroom where staff fill out a form, logging when and where the object was found and by whom. Each item is then carefully wrapped in the form and stored in the concierge office. Like the CFL, valuables are passed on to police. Any items left unclaimed by the end of the season are given to charity or discarded.
In addition to pairs of glasses, keys, phones, wallets and items of clothing, the head ushers said they’re contacted by people looking for friends and relatives that they’ve been separated from at the venue. “We received a call from a man asking if we had found his wife. Apparently, she had last been seen here,” Sousa said.