Nothing comes between children and their favourite toys – which means when they accidentally lose them, the heartbreak can be overwhelming.
For some families, however, moving on after such devastation isn’t an option. From the dad who flew to Singapore to retrieve his son’s bear to the woman who reversed up a slip road to get her panicked granddaughter’s beloved teddy, these stories show the lengths people will go to to reunite kids with their beloved stuffed animals.
Rebecca Harris was five years old when she left her beloved Teddy on the windowsill of a motorway service station while on a trip with her grandparents. “I realised just as we were rejoining the motorway and, in a panic, shouted: ‘I’ve forgotten Teddy’,” she recalled. “Realising the extreme severity of the situation, my Grandma then proceeded to reverse up the motorway slip road.”
Rebecca, now 24, said no other drivers were around when she did this (“thank goodness”) and incredibly Teddy was found safe and sound. “I still have him to this day,” she added.
Matt Clough was just a baby when his beloved bear was left behind in a Singapore hotel. His family flew back to the UK and only then did they realise the devastating error.
Thankfully Matt’s dad was quick-thinking and managed to reroute his next business trip via Singapore so he could collect the bear, which 27-year-old Matt still has to this day.
Elisabeth Field said her son, now seven, has loved a soft rabbit toy called Rabbi since he was a tiny baby. “I cannot put into words how important this now dirty grey, lifeless rabbit is to our son, and our whole family,” she says.
“Because he’s so important, he’s obviously been left in all sorts of locations. Many a night my husband has wandered the streets, retracing our steps as we endeavour to track down the exact location where Rabbi slipped through tired fingers. He has always been found - usually propped up on someone’s fence, a wall, or on top of a parked car, enabling us to see him clearly.”
Last year, the family went on holiday to New England, US, and was left behind in a small hotel in Camden, Maine. “Utter tragedy ensued for the rest of the holiday, obviously,” she recalls. But a week later, when the family were back home in London, a miracle happened. A parcel arrived, and wrapped neatly inside was little Rabbi.
“The lovely owner of the hotel, who clearly understood the relationship children have with their toys, had posted Rabbi back to use,” she says. “It would have been so easy for her to just bin Rabbi, but she didn’t. She took time, energy and cost to wrap him up and return him home. I welled with tears at the thoughtfulness of such a gesture.”