For two days, there was one big thing missing from Justice Wadsworth’s bedroom: “Daddy Bear.”
“It makes me feel like cotton candy and I’m cuddling with my dad,” the 6-year-old girl old KOMO-TV in Seattle.
Justice was reunited with her best friend Thursday thanks to social media and two Washington state transportation workers.
When Justice left her Sedro-Woolley, Wash., home last weekend for a trip to Idaho, she took the teddy bear. But when she got sick along Interstate 90 during the return ride, Daddy Bear apparently fell out and was accidentally left by the side of the road.
“I just got emotional about these things,” her grandmother, Patty Holland Sweeney, said.
The bear has significance. Justice’s father, Sgt. Claudio Wadsworth, is with the Army in South Korea and sent Daddy Bear to her while he was in Afghanistan four years ago. A “someone” to stand in for him, so to speak, while he was away.
“That’s Daddy when Daddy’s gone and she goes to bed with him every night,” Sweeney told KOMO-TV.
Without the bear, Justice went to bed in tears. Her grandmother said she got on Facebook and posted on the Washington state Department of Transportation page.
“Lost, Daddy Bear. Our 6 year old granddaughter got car sick West of Ellensburg Tuesday October 11. When we pulled over to the side of the road to help her, Daddy Bear, who is about 12 inches long and white fell out of the car. … Daddy Bear means the world to her,” the message read.
The agency soon sent out a Tweet. After hearing of several rumors of grassroots efforts to find the bear, Summer Derrey, a Transportation Department spokeswoman said, the agency decided to send its crews out because it was safer than a Good Samaritan.
Within 24 hours, two state employees, Terry Kukes and Harry Nelson, had found the bear while searching the highway. The two traveled the distance to make sure Justice had the bear Thursday night.
“Both of these guys are fathers,” Derrey said. “It was very touching and very meaningful for them to go up” and deliver the bear to Justice.
Nelson, the assistant maintenance superintendent for the department, said, “We both really understand that it’s really important to a child.”