You know how every once in a while you hear your phone's voicemail greeting and think, "That's weird that someone with a dumb voice that I hate hacked into my phone and re-recorded my voicemail greeting," before realizing that's how you sound to the world?
Last weekend a tourist in Iceland spent her Saturday helping police search for a missing woman, before realizing she was the woman everyone was looking for.
The "missing woman" in question had stepped off a bus at Eldgjá, a volcanic canyon in Iceland and never came back. The bus driver waited an hour, hoping she would make her way back to the vehicle, then continued on without her.
The thing is, the woman was already on the bus by the time the driver spent an hour waiting for her. She'd changed her clothing while stretching her legs, so the driver didn't recognize her when she came back. (She probably left the bus a total loser nerd with thick glasses and a ponytail, and returned with contacts and her hair down—vavavoom.)
The driver put the word out to police that a 5'2 woman aged 20-30, of Asian descent, who spoke English well and was wearing dark clothing had gone missing somewhere in the canyon. Unfortunately, because this woman doesn't let her or 5'2- or Asian-ness define her, it didn't occur to her for a full day that she might be the person missing.
Presumably, if police officers had put out the word that they were searching for "a great friend, a daughter, a dreamer, a believer, a total dork who seems shy at first but is so crazy once you get to know her," she would have recognized herself more readily.
One has to wonder why no one else on the bus thought to ask if the 20-30 year old 5'2 woman of Asian descent was the 20-30 year old 5'2 woman of Asian descent everyone was looking for. Perhaps no one wanted to seem racist by suggesting this real-life Asian woman looked just like the hypothetical one.
The Coast Guard had planned to send out a helicopter on Saturday to search the sea, but postponed the flight due to poor visibility. A team of 50 rescue workers continued searching for the woman until 3a.m. on Sunday, when the woman was found (by herself) and police called off the search.