— -- It was a reunion three months and tens of thousands of Facebook “shares” in the making. Three-year-old Ruthie Drew couldn’t contain her excitement as she ran to embrace her beloved stuffed bear, Teddy.
Ruthie had forgotten Teddy at Eastview Mall near Rochester, New York, back in July, where it was discovered by housekeeping. As its 90-day stay in lost-and-found neared its end, the small brown teddy bear with well-worn fur caught the eye of mall security guard Scott Woodruff.
“He had a personal connection because he has a granddaughter who had a little stuffed animal,” mall General Manager Mike Kauffman said. “[Woodruff] thought that this bear probably had an owner who was looking for it.”
So instead of ending up in the garbage after 90 days, per mall policy, the teddy bear ended up on the mall’s Facebook page. The post called on people to “like” and “share,” with the tag #LittleLostBear, in the hopes of reuniting the bear with its owner. And share people did, over 10,000 times.
It was “kind of amazing” how the post took off, Kauffman said.
Teddy made the local news, where Ruthie’s big brother recognized it. Ruthie’s mother, Diana Drew, couldn’t believe it.
“I’m going, ‘Are you kidding?” Drew told ABC News. “I guess Teddy really wanted to come home.”
After confirming that it was indeed Teddy, Drew arranged the long-anticipated reunion.
“[Ruthie] was just ecstatic,” Drew said. “She was so excited about getting her bear back.”
Drew said she is “so grateful” to Woodruff and the mall for their work.
Based on the success of this reunion, the mall may turn to social media more often, GM Kauffman said.
“It was kind of eye-opening to us that the response was so tremendous,” he said.