A 5-year-old boy and his beloved teddy bear have been reunited after months of separation.
Ezekiel Burnett was playing a game of “toss” in the Milwaukee Airport with his favorite stuffed bear, Teddy, when he threw the toy too high, and it got stuck in the rafters. In a rush to board their flight home to Dallas, Texas, the family was forced to leave Teddy behind.
During the trip home, parents Jessica and David Burnett, started feeling guilty that Teddy would most likely not be making his way back to their son.
“We figured we’d never see Teddy again,” David Burnett, 37, told the Washington Post.
Luckily, Ezekiel sought comfort from his toy dog, which kept him distracted from losing his beloved Teddy who had been with the child since birth.
“Ezekiel asked me one night if Teddy was in heaven.” Jessica Burnett said. She was heartbroken for her boy as her guilt continued to mount.
Then on the evening of February 8th, Jessica spotted a familiar face while scrolling through Facebook, it was Teddy! The bear had been found on January 4th when a good Samaritan brought it to lost and found after it had apparently fell from the rafters.
An airport employee was posting pictures of Teddy casually hanging around different places in the airport, hoping the power of social media could reunite the bear with its rightful owner. There were even pictures of Teddy hanging with a purple monkey named, Violet, which was the airport’s longest missing animal of almost two years with no one claiming it.
But Teddy quickly became an internet sensation as his post reached over 4 million people, with thousands sharing in hopes to reunite the child and his long-lost bear.
After successfully finding Teddy’s owner, the Milwaukee airport wanted to make the reunion special, so Southwest Airlines offered to fly the boy and his family out to retrieve his friend.
So, on Valentine’s Day, Ezekiel and his dad flew into the Milwaukee airport to be reunited with Teddy, but when they arrived, they were greeted with another surprise.
“Airline workers had a huge sign with [Ezekiel’s] name on it on the tarmac, and when Ezekiel walked off the plane there were streamers and balloons set up like an archway,” David Burnett said.
The big moment finally happened shortly before they caught a plane back to Dallas. When Ezekiel was reunited with his lost pal, he hugged Teddy and told airport workers and camera crews that he was happy to see him again.
“I think they took good care of him,” Ezekiel later told The Washington Post. “He went to a lot of places in the airport and had a lot of fun. But I’m glad he’s home.”
David Burnett said he was touched by the concern that strangers showed for his son.
“The fact that people had such a heart for reuniting a kid with his teddy bear says a lot,” he said. “People all over the world were sharing Teddy’s picture, wanting a happy ending. We’re thrilled that we finally have one.”