Just about every child has a favorite toy. It’s not just something they play with, but something that gives them comfort and even companionship — and they aren't easily replaced.
This is what Ra Ra, a raggedy little stuffed dog, is to Phoebe Steel, a 4-year-old girl living in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Recently, on the way back from a family vacation in the U.K., she lost Ra Ra.
It happened during a layover at Toronto Pearson International Airport in Canada.
“Somehow [Ra Ra] got dropped and we didn't realize until the plane took off," Jennifer Steel, Phoebe’s mom, told TODAY.com
Phoebe was devastated.
“[She] had a bit of a breakdown, unfortunately,” said Steel. “Eventually she calmed down, and I explained that I would contact the airport to see if they could find him once we landed.”
Steel said Phoebe and Ra Ra share a deep bond.
“We got Ra Ra as a baby gift when she was just born and they have been together ever since," she said. "Ra Ra is usually with her everywhere she goes. They are inseparable.”
Steel tried replacing the stuffed pooch, but Phoebe wanted nothing to do with the replacement toy.
Eventually, Steel turned to social media.
“I put a post on [the airport’s Facebook page] of a picture of my daughter and Ra Ra and told them she lost him and if they could keep an eye out for him," she said.
An airport official replied that employees would keep a look out. Soon after, a post on the same thread said the toy had been found.
“We’re in the business of connections and we knew we had to help Ra Ra reunite with his family,” Shabeen Hanifa, a spokeswoman for the Greater Toronto Airports Authority, told TODAY.com. “Our digital team reached out to our customer service team with the photo and they found Ra Ra.”
Most organizations may have simply mailed the doggy back at the owner’s expense.
But the airport went the extra mile, documenting it all on Facebook in an album called “RaRa’s journey through Toronto Pearson.”
"Earlier this month, one of our younger passengers lost their friend RaRa at Toronto Pearson," the caption read.
"Thankfully, RaRa was found by an employee and after an exciting journey through the airport, he is now home in Saskatchewan," it said, adding the hashtag #RaRaVisitsYYZ.
The six photos show Ra Ra being discovered in a lost and found, cruising through the security, surfing the baggage claim belt, chilling in a Toronto Blue Jays jersey, befriending another stuffed toy and cuddling up with a Toronto Pearson souvenir bear, which joined Ra Ra on the trip home to Phoebe.
“We couldn't believe it, we were so happy,” said Steele.
“Phoebe was overjoyed. Once they posted the pictures of Ra Ra's adventure she couldn't wait to have him home.”