I had been visiting one of my former college professors in Zürich for a few days before having to meet my wife and children in Vienna.
Rather than taking the train to Vienna, I decided to take a faster, less-expensive regional flight.
Often nervous when flying on smaller airplanes, I decided to try and sleep and when I woke up from my short nap, the plane had already landed.
Once the plane pulled into the gate, I left my bags in the overhead compartment and headed for the terminal to find my family before returning to the plane for our onward journey.
I was surprised that the group of passengers I was walking with to the terminal had stopped at a red crossing light and waited there patiently for the light to turn green despite there being no traffic whatsoever.
Finally, a traffic policeman who was directing traffic on a parallel street to where we were waiting gave us a hand gesture signaling for us to cross the street.
Once inside the terminal, I was having a hard time finding my family's arrival from Amsterdam on any of the overhead monitors.
I then found a flight information board on a wall in another part of the terminal that indicated my family's flight had already arrived.
I called my wife who told me the flight had arrived early and that I should come to meet them in the arrival hall.
Just then, I realized that Vienna was our final destination and I had left my things on the plane thinking we were taking another flight on that plane.
Telling my wife about my blunder, she said there would certainly not be enough time to return to the plane, that surely it would have departed for its next destination.
Distraught, I broke into tears while walking through the terminal on the phone with my wife.
I told her I would surely never recover my bags and that everything in them, including my laptop, journals and other irreplaceable personal effects would be lost forever as I was convinced no one would turn them in.
Then I woke up.