Uthai Waenbarb, 36, had been working in a restaurant in Budapest, Hungary, and was travelling back to Thailand on 15 June.
The plane had to stop in Moscow, where Uthai was told he would have to wait five days before he could continue the onward journey to Bangkok – which was when the chef decided to drown his sorrows, disappointed he’d have to wait so long.
He first hit the airport bars, drinking for several hours before eventually being arrested and kicked out of the airport in Moscow, armed with a standard 30-day visa.
The chef admitted he had little memory of what happened after that, but he apparently continued drinking – during which time he lost his passport and all of his belongings, but also somehow found work as a rubbish collector.
Uthai said: “I was so upset after being told by the airline to wait for five days, I decided to drink and after that I cannot remember anything but losing my passport.”
Meanwhile, his family back in Nong Khai in north-eastern Thailand, grew more and more worried, and filed a missing person’s report in Hungary, Thailand and Russia.
Uthai was eventually found on Tuesday 30 July in Khimki city, which is around 27km from Moscow Airport, and someone convinced him to go to the Royal Thai Embassy in Moscow so that officials could take care of the dishevelled chef and look into reuniting him with his loved ones.
The Royal Thai Embassy in Moscow shared the unusual tale on Facebook, writing: “Mr. Uthai is safe and healthy. For the next step, the Embassy will expedite the process with the Russian authorities to be able to send Uthai [home].”
The post also stated that they were hoping to return Uthai to his hometown ‘as soon as possible’.
According to the Bangkok Post, officials at the embassy arranged a phone call for Mr Uthai and his family, and said they would issue him a temporary passport.
The embassy has also reportedly been paying for Uthai’s accommodation, travel expenses and other costs.