WHAT: A seventeen-mile journey for a snake that accidentally ended up in a Goodwill donations facility.
WHO: Austin Pair, a 22-year-old Keller resident, and Toki, his three-foot red-tailed boa constrictor.
WHY IT’S SO GREAT: On November 1, a Goodwill employee sorting donations at the organization’s center in Fort Worth got an unusual surprise: a large snake that she identified as a python. (It was actually an albino red-tailed boa constrictor, but we don’t expect everyone to be herpetologists.) Uncertain if the snake was an intentional donation, an accidental stowaway, or a creature that somehow ended up in the facility through some unknown provenance, the Goodwill location went to the media. And it’s a good thing they did, because 22-year-old Keller resident Austin Pair was very sad about his missing pet snake.
According to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Toki the snake went missing in May when Pair went on vacation. He’d left the boa in an aquarium with the lid taped down and reinforced with weights—but the snake got out anyway and disappeared, leaving him and his roommates to search through their large house in suburban Saginaw to no avail. Time passed, Pair assumed that the snake had slithered out of his life of comfort and was roughing it on the mean streets. Eventually, Pair decided to move back in with his parents, and he took a few of the things he’d no longer need—two couches, some clothing—to a Saginaw Goodwill donation center.
No one knows for sure what happened next. Pair and James Murphy, a Goodwill assistant manager who is also a snake enthusiast, told the Star-Telegram that they suspect that Toki has been living in the couch and had sought refuge in a pile of clothes once he arrived at the donation center. Whatever happened, we know Toki did not resurface in Saginaw. Rather, he popped up at a Goodwill sorting center in Fort Worth, seventeen miles away, when the bundle of clothes he’d huddled in was being processed.
The newspaper’s account of Toki’s adventure describes it as “miraculous,” and that’s a fair description. The couch Toki ended up in was not the one Pair sold to someone else, and the sorting facility he was delivered to happened to be managed by Murphy, someone who knew how to respond when a large, unexpected snake appears suddenly. Murphy put Toki in a tub where he could relax in peace until his owner was found. A friend of Pair’s saw the news coverage of the Goodwill boa, and Pair and Toki were reunited.
Pair told the paper that he thinks Toki might have toppled his habitat because he missed his owner—they would snuggle up, snake and man, to watch hockey together or hang out while Pair played video games. Now, the two are reunited and can resume their friendship. It’s not often that a sssssstory about a boa constrictor popping up somewhere no one ever expected has such a happy ending, so let’s celebrate the lucky turnout for Toki and Pair.