Brenda Duke of Ottawa, Canada, recently found out that when it comes to helping others, no request is too small.
The mom of three was out for a walk along the Rideau Canal one day when 2-year-old Santiago decided to chuck his 4-year-old brother Nico’s favorite toy over the edge.
They found the stuffed reindeer fawn at a zoo gift shop, and Nico has carried it with him wherever he goes ever since. He was absolutely devastated to lose his beloved “stuffie,” which ended up on the frozen surface of the canal more than 20 feet below the railing where the family stood.
Over the next few days, they returned to the same spot to check on the toy. Sadly, they had to watch as it was slowly covered by fresh snow, disappearing from sight more with every passing moment. That’s when Brenda’s oldest son, 6-year-old Sebastian, suggested she ask for help on social media.
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“I didn’t want to bother anyone. I don’t think anyone would care,” Brenda told CBC News. Still, she decided to give it a shot. She posted a picture on Twitter explaining the situation and hoped for the best.
“Toddler brother threw it in,” she explained. “I know it’s unlikely since they clear snow now and it will be even more buried, but my 6-year-old asked me to post here. They come visit it on our daily walks now; it’s the little mound you see.”
To her surprise, her community quickly started suggesting ways she could reach the toy. Then a few people tagged the National Capital Commission, the civic group responsible for caring for the largest skating rink in the world, the Rideau Canal Skateway.
Just a few days later, the NCC came through on their promise to keep an eye out for the toy. A worker located the fawn, which was frozen solid, and took it back to headquarters to thaw it out!
Nico couldn’t believe his eyes when Brenda showed him the picture of his rescued toy. “Utter disbelief. He stared,” Brenda said with a laugh. “It took a while to click. He’s like, ‘Wait, that’s mine?’ He was just in shock, and then he was really excited.”
One week to the day that little Sebastian threw his brother’s toy over the edge, the family headed to the skateway for a very sweet reunion!
“You just have to ask,” Brenda said later. “People do care. Assuming that they don’t is something that adults do. … [My kids] are growing up knowing that other people have our backs and other people care, and that’s really heartwarming.”
What a nice lesson for everyone! All it took was a frozen stuffie to warm hearts all over Ottawa, but no one would have even known about it if Brenda hadn’t asked for help.
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