IT’S a heartbreaking scenario for any seasoned traveller – the photo album from a trip of a lifetime disappears without trace.
Now it is hoped a foreign family can be reunited with precious images from an Edinburgh holiday after selfless city residents launched an online campaign to trace them and return their memory card of snaps.
The message has gone global with big-hearted social media users from Shetland to Hong Kong banding together to help find the family.
US TV host Ellen DeGeneres has even been contacted on Twitter by eager fans hoping she will spread the word.
The search began last weekend after a drama student stumbled upon the grimy memory card in front of a multi-storey car park in Glasgow.
Barry Carruthers, 22, uploaded the images onto his laptop and kick-started a global search for the mystery holidaymakers to Scotland.
“This family had been everywhere, and done it all,” he said.
“They went to the Military Tattoo at Edinburgh Castle, the Fringe, the Royal Mile, Knockhill Circuit, Ayr – you name it.
“I’ve lived in Scotland all my life, and there were a few places I couldn’t even identify.”
After trawling through the family-of-four’s all-encompassing epic Scottish trip, Mr Carruthers said he felt compelled to reunite the tourists with their photos.
“I’m quite a sentimental person myself, and I just hated the idea of this family losing their entire trip on the street,” he said.
“When people pick up cameras or phones, all they are thinking of is the monetary value – but I don’t think people ever stop to realise how powerful and important photographs are to people.
“I just really wanted to help.”
A keen photographer, Mr Carruthers was able to identify that the family had used a Nikon camera for their shots and had travelled to Scotland in August.
Posting on Facebook several photos of the family in front of Capital locations such as North Bridge, his plea for help to find the family has now racked up more 21,000 shares in a matter of days.
His cause was also taken up on BBC radio and national tourist board VisitScotland.
A spokesman for VisitScotland said: “When we saw that this family had lost all of their photographs, we had to help.
“World-famous for our incredible scenery, vibrant culture and spectacular heritage, Scotland is one of the finest tourism destinations in the world, and a holiday here provides memories that will last a lifetime.
“However, to lose your photographs of this beautiful country would be devastating and we hope that the family in this case will be reunited with their memory card very soon.”
Mr Carruthers added: “This family clearly had an amazing time in Scotland. They saw it all.
“I just don’t want them to lose those memories.”
Anyone able to identify the family pictured in the lost photos is asked to contact the Evening News.