When Paul Bishop tossed his cookies during a bar hop in Spain, he accidentally tossed his teeth, too.
The year was 2011. The location was Benidorm, a Mediterranean resort town where Bishop, from Stalybridge, Manchester, UK, was vacationing with his mates. One friend had just turned 50, and they all celebrated the milestone with a drinking bender that began in the early afternoon. Around 11 p.m., Bishop downgraded from beer to cider—a decision that backfired when his crew soon decided to head to the next bar, leaving Bishop to chug his drink or else abandon a perfectly good half-pint of cider. He chugged it.
The deluge proved too much for his poor, empty (except for all the alcohol) stomach to bear. “[I] thought, ‘Oh no, it’s coming back up,’” he told Sky News. He spotted a large recycling bin just outside the bar and spewed his stomach contents into it with aplomb.
After arriving at the next spot, one of Bishop’s companions asked him an unexpected question: “Where are your teeth?”
His top dentures were indeed no longer in his mouth, leading Bishop to deduce that they must’ve popped out mid-chunder. “We went back but there were hundreds of bottles in there,” he told the Manchester Evening News. When they tried to search again the following morning, collectors had already cleared out the bin.
Bishop didn’t let the loss ruin the rest of his trip. “I'd taken my Elvis suit and promised my mates I would sing, so I had to do it with no teeth in,” he said. “Everyone thought it was hilarious.” He replaced the set of dentures upon his return to England and that was that—until earlier this month, when the missing teeth appeared in his mailbox.
According to the accompanying letter from Spain’s Centro Nacional de Biotecnología, the dentures had been recovered by a waste collection agency and ended up in a storage container for years. A young lab technician was recently honing his DNA-testing skills on miscellaneous storage items when he stumbled upon a match for the dentures. He then tracked down an address for Bishop via Spain’s British Council and sent the gnashers back to their owner.
“I didn’t know I was even on a DNA database but I did a voluntary swab years ago so it must have been from that,” Bishop, now 63 years old, told Sky News.
Though still in “perfect condition,” the pearly whites aren’t a perfect fit for Bishop’s gums anymore. But he’s not planning to toss them in another bin. Instead, as UPI reports, he’s thinking about exhibiting them at Stalybridge’s Ridge Hill Lane Working Men's Club. It’s not exactly known for its denture displays—Bishop just happens to be the general manager there.