Most of us had some sort of stuffed toy when we were growing up, and the thought of losing it was one of the worst things imaginable.
Eleanor Dewald, 8, landed with her family at Detroit Wayne County Metropolitan Airport with her family on Wednesday, having spent a long day travelling home for Christmas. However, when it was time for bed, she realised that she had left her favourite stuffed toy – a bear named ‘Teddy’ behind at the airport.
Eleanor had owned Teddy since preschool, and according to her mother, they were inseparable. Teddy would go absolutely everywhere with Eleanor.
“Teddy goes everywhere with Eleanor, so he occasionally ends up in a snowbank or under a car seat,” said Eleanor’s mother, Trish. “But Teddy wasn’t anywhere that Teddy would usually be.”
Trish called the airline to file a lost property claim, but the airline told her that no lost bears had been handed in. Worried and disappointed about the whereabouts of Teddy, Trish turned to Facebook, where she posted a picture of Teddy and wrote:
“How might one go about posting an amber alert for a missing Teddy? Last seen: Detroit Metro Airport North Terminal on 12/21/16 at 6:05pm. Looks similar to the one pictured though more….ahem…’loved.'”
Height: approximately 12″
Reward: 8 year old girl child’s undying appreciation”
“If seen, contact parental units of said girl child.
Authorities (DTW lost and found/airline lost and found) have been notified. #operationteddy.”
At which point, Steven Lauderman, a ramp attendant and coincidentally a former classmate of Trish, saw the post and decided to take action to track down the bear.
Steven also tried lost property, to no avail. So he retraced Eleanor’s steps and found Teddy sitting on a trashcan. Steven still had to work the rest of his shift, however, so he was unable to return Teddy straight away.
Laudeman told the Detroit Free Press that a few of his coworkers looked and him weird, but explained that “I have two little boys of my own. They would be so upset if they lost their stuffed animals. I understood.”
He decided to take Teddy on an adventure around the airport – posting photos of his trip along the way – to reassure Eleanor that her beloved bear was doing just fine:
He even found the time to write a letter to Santa…
He made some new furry friends along the way:
Teddy also went for a drive around the airport
…and even gave driving for himself a go!
Trish said that Laudeman is one of the kindest men she knows.
“So much time has passed and so many people come in and out of your lives, and to have someone stay in touch like this — It’s so meaningful to our family. That’s how we got Teddy back.”
Teddy was finally reunited with Eleanor and her family just in time for Christmas: