We hear occasional stories about people who have themselves delivered by the postal service, but Reg Spiers took it to the limit by shipping himself as cargo from England back home to Australia! An Olympic hopeful in the javelin throw, Spiers was stranded in England with no money and wanted to get home in time for his daughter’s birthday in 1964. Shipping a heavy package cost more than flying in a seat, but for a seat you have to buy a ticket, while cargo could be shipped COD. So he had a friend build him a box and he addressed himself to a fictional shoe company. And it wasn’t a non-stop flight.
"I got out of the box between London and Paris, dying for a leak," says Spiers. "I peed in a can and put it on top of the box. I was stretching my legs and all of a sudden, because it's a short distance, the plane began to descend. A little panicky I jumped back in the box, and the can full of pee was still sitting on top."
The French baggage handlers in Paris thought the can's unsavoury contents had been left for them as an unkind joke by their counterparts in London.
"They were saying some terrible things about the English," says Spiers. "But they didn't even think of the box. So I kept on going."
The next stop on the long journey back to Australia was in Bombay, where baggage handlers parked Spiers - upside down - in the sun's glare for four hours.
"It was hot as hell in Bombay so I took off all my clothes," he says. "Wouldn't it have been funny if I'd got pinched then?"