How I Got Almost Famous For Hunting The Beast

It was supposed to be a quiet Saturday night out. I wanted to take my Airbnb guest Jess, who had just arrived that day from Australia, to my favorite brewery Parallel 49. We had a couple of flights of craft beer tasters and then headed back to Commercial Drive. But since we were passing by, I thought we could make a pit stop at my favorite bar, Storm Crow Tavern, for a quiet pint. Most visitors I take to Storm Crow Tavern are blown away by the awesome unique nerdiness of the establishment but Jess didn’t seem all that impressed. Tough crowd. At least they serve real pints so that’s something to be pleased about.

We had a quick drink and left but somehow got pulled into The Charlatan further on our way home. (I forgot that having a quiet pint with Australians means quite the opposite) Jess was finally in her natural habit and quickly made friends with almost everyone at the bar. It was rather amusing; strangers started conversing with each other at a bar in Vancouver!

Before you know it, it was 2 am and it was time to exit the premises. I invited one of our new friends to join us back at my apartment for more drinks. We walked perhaps a block before we saw a girl slumped over at a bus stop. And that’s when things got crazy.

I’ll let my Craigslist missed connections ad explain the rest (click on image for a larger version):

When the girl had passed out on my couch, I hadn’t really thought to retrieve my jacket as we were just happy that she was safe. Also, I had guests over. Not only was there Jess my Airbnb guest, there was Chantel from the bar and Jason, a random person on the street who had come to investigate the above-mentioned commotion. (I would have felt bad not to invite Jason along to my apartment, seeing that I was already inviting everyone else over)

Anyway, the next day I woke up a bit worse for wear and noticed that “random drunk girl” was gone without a note. Oh well, I thought. Then my heart dropped when I realized that she had left with The Beast. I immediately went to rant on Facebook, when some friends hypothesized that she probably didn’t realize that she had still been wearing it when she left. It was very plausible but I started to get more worried when it hadn’t been returned by that Sunday evening. I decided to write the above Craigslist missed connections ad and share it with my friends on Facebook. My friends were overwhelmingly supportive over what was just essentially an old worn-out jacket, and started sharing the link. In an after-thought, I cross-posted the ad to Reddit later that night and where things blew up while I was sleeping.

Strangers started sharing my link. I started getting emails of support, offers of money, offers to get me a new jacket, offers to buy the girl a new jacket, offers to help me find a job and offers to buy me a drink sometime. And even one guy offered to “take me back” because he was worried about me. You see, he was convinced that I was his ex-girlfriend Emily. (Apparently Emily and I have the same writing style and taste in jackets.) I tried to highlight the fact that I referred to myself as a male in the Craigslist ad but there was no convincing him. Perhaps, Emily adopts a male pseudonym when she writes, sort of how J.K. Rowling initially started out.

Then the press got hold of me. Vancity Buzz featured my Craigslist ad. The Province, Huffington Post, Glass City and Metro Vancouver wanted to do stories. CTV considered me for a television segment. And CKNW News Talk 980AM decided to interview me. All because of a jacket…!

And here I thought I would never become more famous than that time I hitchhiked from Pukekohe to Auckland naked, for a radio contest. (Which is of course a story for another day)

The irony of it all was it became big news partly because it’s perhaps unordinary for strangers to help each other in this city. But by sharing my plea to get my jacket back, thousands of strangers were in turn helping me. It was really heartwarming. And at 3:30 pm on Monday afternoon, I found The Beast left on my porch. No note again but I didn’t really blame her for wanting to stay anonymous. This would have probably been the most famous walk of shame in recent Vancouver history.

As for me, I’m just relieved that my beloved Beast and I are reunited once again. My 15 minutes of fame was over, except for the occasional acknowledgement ever so often by random strangers on The Drive.

Originally published at