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The World's Last Lost Tourist

49-year-old German brewery worker Erwin Kreuz blew his life savings on a once-in-a-lifetime birthday trip to San Francisco. He’d seen it on TV, and he wanted to visit the Wild West. As the flight from Frankfurt stopped to refuel in Bangor, Maine, before continuing on to California, an air stewardess who had finished her shift told Kreuz to “have a nice time in San Francisco.” Her choice of words would change Kreuz’s life.

Kreuz, who typically enjoyed drinking 17 beers a day, was a little groggy, and on hearing this, got off the plane, jumped in a cab and asked the driver to take him to the city. The cab dropped Kreuz at a hotel in downtown Bangor and he found a tavern to quench his almighty thirst. He wandered Bangor for three days enjoying the sights and sounds that Maine had to offer. Unfortunately, Kreuz still thought he was in San Francisco.

Kreuz was certain he was in San Francisco, and he didn’t stop believing that for three very strange days. At one point Kreuz was reassured by the sight of two Chinese restaurants in the town, something he knew was in San Francisco from the movies. After much wandering, Kreuz decided he must be in a Bay Area suburb, so he hailed a taxi and asked the driver to take him to downtown San Francisco. The driver sped away as though Kreuz was crazy.

Kreuz returned to the tavern and tried to get some help from a waitress. The language barrier was too great, so she put him in contact with Gertrude Romine who spoke German. Romine and her family took Kreuz into their home, and word spread of the lost tourist, first to the Bangor Daily News, then nationally, then the world.

Hearing of his story, The San Francisco Examiner paid for Kreuz to fly out to his initial destination. When there, he was treated like a visiting dignitary. Kreuz was welcomed by the mayor, who presented him with a proclamation declaring that San Francisco does, in fact, exist.

Kreuz was soon due back at work at the brewery and, after four days in San Francisco, boarded a flight back home holding a “Please let me off in Frankfurt” sign.

Possible Preaching Angle:

Confusion; Eternity; Heaven; Lostness – This humorous story also has a sobering application for all who go through life assuming that at the end of life’s journey they will find themselves in heaven, only to discover that they are greatly mistaken. “There is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death” (Prov. 14:12; 16:25).

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