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After a luggage mishap, this traveler is on the hunt to find a $22,000 flute he left on a Chicago train


A traveler found himself in the ultimate luggage mishap: he lost a $22,000 flute left to him by his late grandmother on a Chicago subway.

The doors of the train had just shut behind 23-year-old Donald Rabin when he realized he’d left an extremely valuable instrument between the seat and wall of the subway last Friday.

“I tried to run up the stairs to make my Lyft, and as soon as I get up the stairs, I realized oh my God, oh my God my instrument is gone,” Rabin told CNN.

A flautist for nearly 11 years and a graduate student at Boston Conservatory at Berklee in Boston, Massachusetts, Rabin said the flute is not only his career, it’s an extension of his body.

“It’s like another limb, it’s like an organ,” he said. “I feel really weird right now without it.”

The young musician was visiting Chicago as a pit stop on his way to school from his hometown of St. Louis, Missouri.

Rabin said he did everything he could think of to find his flute once he realized it was gone — from pounding on the door of Chicago Transit Authority to spending the night train hopping — hoping to cross its path.

“The flute is my livelihood and I’m trying every possible thing I can do to get it back,” he wrote in a plea to social media to help spread the word of his missing instrument.

According to Rabin, the flute is worth most in sentimental value because it left to him from his grandmother when he couldn’t afford the purchase on his own.

“When my grandmother died from cancer in 2016, she left it in her will that I could get a flute,” he said. “And that’s something that has always been so special to me.”

The flute is a Haynes and Company brand from Boston, according to Rabin’s post. It has a gold headjoint and a silver body. It was last seen in a black rectangular bag with a strap.

On Tuesday, Rabin left Chicago and returned to Boston. He said he continues to work with the Chicago Police Department to locate the missing instrument.

“The perfect ending is for me to be reunited with my second half, my third limb, ” he said. “And to be able to bring joy back to the world with my flute, one note at a time.”

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