Invader Stu: The passport

01 September 2014, by

"Excuse me. Did you drop this?" I hear an unfamiliar voice ask from behind me as I lock my bicycle.

Wondering what it is they could be referring to I slowly start to turn around to face the owner of the helpful voice.

Whatever it is I have apparently dropped I’m very lucky that it has been found by an honest and upstanding citizen. It’s nice to know that in this day and age they’re still around.

"I think you dropped this! Did you drop this? I saw you drop it! Is it yours?"

Before I can say anything I am caught off guard by the sudden appearance of a passport mere inches from my face. It happens so fast that it actually takes a moment for my eyes to refocus and work out that it is a passport and that it is being held at arm’s length by the owner of the voice.

It takes another moment for my brain to catch up and process his rapid line of questioning.

"Er..." Is the best response I find myself able to come up with.

Whose passport is it anyway?

The whole situation is already slightly odd but it is the passport itself that makes the whole thing really bizarre. I have no idea how to react but there is one thing I know for certain... the passport is not mine.

There are two main reasons why I know this to be true. Surprisingly, the first reason (the fact that I know my passport is safely at home) is not the most compelling out of the two reasons, even though under normal circumstances it should provide enough evidence.

The second, and yet most compelling reason, why I know that the passport, now being held inches from my face, is not mine is because he is holding it open at the photo page… The face staring back at me from the page is not of myself... it is of him.

"Err… No. It’s not mine."

"Are you sure? I saw you drop it... over there." He points in the direction I’d cycled from moments ago.

I look from the passport, to the cycle path and back again as my brain tried to work out how that scenario is even feasible.

invader stu passport

Passport photo

Possibly taking the look of puzzlement and confusion on my face as an indication of uncertainty on the subject of "my" passport he slowly stretches his arm out even farther so I can get a closer look at the photo, as if questioning my eyesight too.

At this point, I am so confused by the whole situation that I check the photo again anyway... just in case. It has been almost ten hours since I’d last seen what I looked like in a mirror (while brushing my teeth that morning) but I am still fairly certain that I do not have black dreadlocks.

"I’m really sure it is not mine."

"But I saw you drop it."

I’m still not entirely sure what is going on but I’m starting to suspect that the stoned expression on his face (which is not included in the photo) has something to do with it.

"Sorry. It’s not mine."


"I think you might want to check the photo."

And I slowly start to back away as he looks at me confused and puzzled, unable to understand why I would not want what he believes to be "my" passport back.

You meet some strange people in Amsterdam...

Invader Stu is an accident prone Englishman who has been suffering from Dutch culture shock for the last ten years. Enjoy his stories, more of which can be found on Invading Holland.

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Comments arranged by date (Total 2 comments)  
September 04 2014, 02:00PM question. Was the above conversation in Dutch or English? FYI, Rotterdam in no me.

November 11 2015, 12:37AM

Care. It could be a trick from pickpockets. There are plenty of those in Amsterdam as well!

About the Author
Stuart B

An accident prone Englishman living in Holland since 2001. Still not great with the language but fin...



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