From the Palisades to China

With World Cup fever in full force around the world, South China Morning Post reporter Nicolas Atkin collected over the course of a month what he thought were all 670 FIFA Panini collector stickers to place into a World Cup album.

Atkin reported that he had spent nearly HK$1,850 (U.S.$235.74) before getting the final 85 stickers at a swap meet in Kowloon Tong.

SCMP recorded a video of him placing each sticker in the book one by one, which is when he realized he was missing one sticker: Medhi Benatia of Morocco.

“That No. 143 had been haunting me in my dreams … ” Atkin wrote.

Then he received a letter from Philip, a 5-year-old from Pacific Palisades.

“I enjoyed watching your Panani sticker album video on SCMP’s Twitter feed, and I was sad when I saw how devastated you were by missing the Medhi Benatia sticker,” Philip wrote in a letter Atkin shared. “But then I realized that I have an extra Medhi Benatia sticker, and the thought of sending it to you made me happy … I have read a lot about Hong Kong and one day I dream of visiting.”

Now Atkin’s collection is complete.

“I walked into work on Saturday morning and found a letter in the Sport desk inbox tray addressed to me from the Pacific Palisades in California,” Atkin wrote. “ … If you ever do make that visit to Hong Kong, then I’ll happily show you and your family around.”

      —SARAH SHMERLING

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