While Benji Thompson has the same last name as his boss, he is not related to Lexi Thompson. Yet after hearing the lengths Benji went to retrieve Thompson's passport on Sunday night, you'd think the two were very close siblings.
Benji, who was in Geneva late Sunday night and preparing to take a 7:20 a.m. flight to England for the Women's British Open, originally received an ominous text from his boss at around 9 p.m. Sunday. "Dude we might not get outta here," it read.
What Lexi Thompson was referring to was that she had accidentally left her passport in her travel bag, which was in a rental van—along with the clubs of 39 other players competing in the Women's British Open—being driven from the Evian Championship to Woburn Golf Club in England through the night. Without her passport, Lexi would not have been able to board the flight. Benji knew he had to jump into action.
After texting back and forth with Lexi and Lexi's dad, Scott, Benji decided his best option was to go find the driver of the rental van, Ian Wright, former caddie for Seve Ballesteros. Scott Thompson was able to get in touch with Wright, who was already about an hour south of the Geneva airport. Benji hopped in a cab outside of his hotel in Geneva and began a trip from hell around 10:45 p.m. Sunday. Mind you, he had a shuttle to the airport picking him and some other caddies up at 5:15 the next morning for their 7:20 a.m. flight.
"I knew I wasn’t going to get much sleep, and my only thought as a caddie was, 'My player needs me, and I’m going to do whatever it takes to get the job done,' " Thompson wrote in an email to The Caddie Network.
"I had my GPS going as well as the cab driver’s. [He] was driving fast for me to get there and return quickly. He was doing great until about three miles away from our destination. I told him we needed to go to the right, and he insisted we go to the left. He got aggravated with me (trying to give him directions), and in another language, he yelled at me! I figured at that time it was best to just sit back and let him do his job. I could absolutely tell we were going in the wrong direction and had to sit back and just let it happen. After 20 minutes of him going the wrong way, looking at my phone texting with my wife (her thinking I’m getting kidnapped], Lexi and Scott helping with location of driver and van, curving roads and about to puke, he decided to ask for my help! We got turned around and finally made it to the gas station where Ian, the van driver, was parked. Our 28-mile drive had turned into about an hour and a half after we left the hotel."
Turns out, finding Wright might have been the easiest part for Benji and the cab driver. Once they did, Benji and Wright had to begin shuffling through all the bags in the tightly packed van as he tried to locate Lexi's, which had her and her father's passports in it.
"I immediately knew this was about to be a nightmare of a task to get to her travel golf bag," Thompson wrote. "After I cleared the area, I started pulling these bags off and getting them out of the way. No wonder the players and caddies who used this service didn’t have anything with them when they arrived in London (It was all in the heavy-ass golf bag traveling cases). Once I got about 30-40 bags out, I saw Lexi’s on the bottom, and cha-ching! I knew where the passports were and was able to dig down and get them out. I made sure I had both of them and put them in my pocket."
All done, right? Not quite.
"Now is when the fun started," said Thompson. "Every one of those heavy bags I removed I had to put back. They had to be packed very tight and there is a certain way for all this to fit. Somehow, I got all of the bags back in the van, and I still don’t know how I did it. Looking at all of it out on the ground I was telling myself there is a way and just kept plugging. When I finished, it took the cab driver and Ian holding the bags and me sliding the door to make it close.
"Finally, I’ve got the passports, all packed up and headed back with the cab driver. We made it back to my hotel in about 45 minutes and it was now 1 a.m., and I couldn’t thank him enough for taking me and waiting while I did it. The cab fare cost $300 Swiss francs, which is pretty much the same as the dollar right now. I’m not worried… Lexi is getting that bill!"
Not only should Lexi get that bill, but it sounds like a raise is in order for Benji after that chase. There's going above and beyond, and then there's tracking down your boss' passport in the middle of the night in a country you're not from, all while you have to be up and getting ready for a flight to another country in a few hours. Tip of the cap to Benji.
For more of the story, check out Thompson's full tale in this article from The Caddie Network.