When someone we love passes away, we tend to cling to the mementos that remind us of the love between us.
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Tylor Kennedy of Knoxville, Tennessee was cleaning out some of his 4-year-old daughter’s stuffed toys when he made a huge mistake. In his haste, he grabbed a rainbow-colored teddy bear and shoved it into the donation bag to take to Goodwill, totally forgetting the significance of that particular bear.
The bear was a gift from Tylor’s daughter’s grandmother. It’s a Rainbow Sparkle bear from Build-A-Bear, and when the child squeezes its paw, she could hear a recording of the her late mother’s heartbeat. The toy was a comfort to the little girl since losing her mother. When she found out it was gone, she was heartbroken.
Tylor quickly reached out to the Goodwill store in Tazewell, where he’d dropped off the bear. Sadly, the bear had already been sold, which is not unusual for that kind of toy.
“Build-A-Bears are so recognizable,” said Goodwill spokesperson Cindy Dodson. “If you see a Build-a-Bear at a thrift store, a lot of people will grab it. They’re one of a kind.”
Cindy and the Goodwill staff immediately put the word out on social media, asking whoever purchased the bear to please bring it back.
When a local radio station shared the story, the community was quick to help with the search.
“I can tell you, there’s a reason we’re called the Volunteer State,” Cindy said. “Everybody rallies around to try to help. There are no strangers whenever something comes up. Everybody wants to try to help.”
Thanks to the media attention, news of the missing bear made it all the way to Build-A-Bear’s corporate offices. The company was quick to offer a replacement bear to the child, complete with a new recording of her mom’s heartbeat.
“While we remain hopeful that the original bear is located, it is our sincere wish that this new teddy bear will provide a bit of comfort for the child and the family at this time,” a Build-A-Bear spokesperson told TODAY.
Thanks to her community, this little girl can listen to her mother’s heartbeat any time she needs comfort. We’re grateful that this story has a happy ending!
Share this story to send comfort and love to this child, and any child who has lost a parent.
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