Monday, October 23, 2006

An Accidental Tourist in Maine

In October 1977, Augsburg brewery worker Erwin Kreuz (who was born on this day in 1927) treated himself to a once-in-a-lifetime 50th birthday vacation to San Francisco to see the glorious Golden Gate Bridge.

When his charter flight landed in Bangor, Maine for refueling and customs, the non-English speaking Kreuz thought he had arrived in San Francisco and left the plane. For four days he wandered around Bangor, taking in the sights of houses and businesses and generally getting a good sense of working-class America -- which was at least one of the things he'd hoped to see on his vacation.

It wasn't until he asked a cab driver to take him to downtown San Francisco that he realized he was 6,000 kilometers off his mark. He hit the national news as perhaps the most famous lost person since Wrong Way Corrigan, leading the San Francisco Examiner to pay for a trip to San Francisco for Kreuz. After celebrating his birthday at a party with his new friends in Bangor, eating a McDonald's Big Mac and spending a night in a real American jail (at his own request), he accepted the Examiner's offer, stating that his brewery "won't mind if I'm a few days late."

According to one report, Kreuz planned to return to the U.S. in 1978 -- only this time with the expressed intention of visiting Bangor.

If anyone has any "Kreuz news" today, we'd love to hear about it.



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