GILBERT, Ariz. — The discovery of a stuffed animal over the weekend has park staff in Gilbert, Arizona trying to reunite “Mr. Bunny” with the original owner.
The absence of a favorite stuffed animal or comfort blanket could lead to a minor crisis or meltdown for some children.
Grandmother to ten grandchildren, Becky Simpson described the situation one family could be facing using a single word — “panic.”
With a three-month-old in her arms and a three-year-old at the playground, mother Logan Steen said bedtime for her children relies on a specific stuffed animal.
”Her Paw Patrol stuffed animals, have to go get them, they have to be by her pillows or else she can’t fall asleep,” said Steen.
When asked what it’s like to lose her beloved stuffed animals, the next youngest Steen put it best by saying, “sad” with a big smile as she looked back at her mother and baby sister.
So, when a grey stuffed bunny and a small boy's jacket showed up without an owner near the playground of Gilbert Regional Park on Saturday night, Park Ranger Tol Cherry knew the combo wasn’t any old lost and found item that lives for weeks in an office.
“I know how important those things are to my grandchildren so I’m sure it’s very important to whatever child owns this little Mr. Bunny rabbit,” said Cherry.
For now, “Mr. Bunny” and the accompanying jackets will stay in a lost and found office in Gilbert, waiting on their original owner.
As a grandparent, Ranger Cherry knows the panic that comes with losing a loved stuffed animal like him.
So, his determination to reunite “Mr. Bunny” with the original owner started to hop around social media.
”It’s important to the town,” said Cherry.
A tweet sent out by the Gilbert Regional park has been gaining traction.
Thousands on the GoGilbert Facebook page are sharing it – even Gilbert Mayor Brigette Peterson asked followers to retweet so the bunny can get home.
Please RT so we can get this Bunny 🐰 home! 💜 https://t.co/DdAZmVcU8r— Mayor Brigette Peterson (@GilbertAZMayor) February 15, 2022
Cherry said at least one woman has reached out thinking the stuffed animal could be her granddaughter's, but wasn’t sure.
Upon seeing “Mr. Rabbit” for the first time, some may say the color may be faded, and it’s unclear if he ever had a nose.
But ask any parent, and they'll tell you those are signs that someone out there has love.
”We’re all about kindness and doing the right thing,” said Cherry.
This story was first reported by Jordan Bontke at KNXV in Phoenix, Arizona.