A Surprise Ending?
"Hey, guys, come quick! I can't find my hand luggage!" Zevi cried in alarm. The bus had pulled up at their destination quite a few minutes earlier, but the baggage compartment was so full of objects, packages, carriages, suitcases and shopping bags that Zevi simply hadn't been able to find his new blue hand luggage. He shoved some things to one side and pulled other things forward, craning to see what was behind them – in vain. It didn't seem there was a chance in the world he could find his hand luggage without unloading the entire baggage compartment, which was obviously impossible.
"I boarded at one of the first stops," he murmured despairingly. "There were some things in the baggage compartment already, but not many." Out of the corner of his eye, he saw his friends, each with his suitcase or handbag in tow, preparing to move on. "Please help me!" he called to them. "I must have my stuff for Shabbos!"
One of the older bachurim turned around. "Don't worry," he said confidently. "The yeshivah has an agreement with the driver that when he finishes his route, he comes back to the yeshivah to unload everything. There's still loads of stuff in there that needs to be unloaded. Lots of mothers send packages to their sons in yeshivah. Everything's in there and everything will come back to us soon. Just make sure to come out when the bus honks."
"Are you sure?"
"Positive. I've been here for four years now," the bachur said with a smile. Zevi calmed down and straightened up, allowing the waiting bus to pull away. He was considering joining Yeshivas Tifrach for the next zman, and this Shabbos was his opportunity to get to know the yeshivah. Soon the bus would be back with his blue handbag, the one his mother had so lovingly packed for his first "Shabbos Yeshivah."
Ten minutes later, he returned to the bus stop to see a group of very concerned bachurim. The bus hadn't returned! Each of the bachurim at the bus stop had a package in the baggage compartment that he needed for Shabbos.
Zevi called home and told his mother what had happened. His Shabbos clothing and other important items were in the handbag. The other bachurim reported that they had far more valuable items in their packages. The common denominator was a feeling of great frustration. Calling Egged yielded only an automated message; they couldn't get a human representative on the line – which probably meant their cause was lost for the time being.
"No, no!" exclaimed Zevi's mother in alarm. "Don't give up. We'll contribute to Kupat Ha'ir and you'll see that things will move." She hung up with Zevi and gathered her children together to explain the situation. Each child contributed something from his pocket money and one said she'd noticed there was a bill wedged under the fridge. Together, they moved aside the fridge and extricated a twenty shekel bill. Zevi's mother added a bill from her wallet to achieve the grand sum of sixty-four shekels, and then she dialed Kupat Ha'ir and contributed the sum via credit card. The entire family prayed silently that Zevi and his hand luggage be reunited before Shabbos.
A few hours passed with no news. The Tifrach yeshivah boys tried to move heaven and earth, to no avail. Zevi's mother called every half hour to ask if there had been any progress. The children were pestering her, asking over and over again, "What happened to Kupat Ha'ir? How can we believe all the stories if when we contribute, we don't get a yeshuah?"
In the end, just like in all the stories, Egged called the yeshivah. The bus had arrived in Ashkelon and there all the Tifrach-bound packages had been discovered. The bus could no longer make the return trip, but Egged was dispatching the items to Yeshivas Tifrach in a number of private cars.
Moments before candle lighting, Zevi had his blue hand luggage. In his merit, the other boys got their stuff back, too.
Not really a surprise ending, is it?