When Baillie, 7, noticed her “daddy doll” was missing, the family started retracing their steps in the hopes of finding the beloved toy. This is no ordinary stuffed toy. It’s a deployment doll, which Baillie has had since her father, Larry Childers, deployed with the U.S. Navy in 2014. It’s a picture of her dad in his uniform in a cuddly form.
“She was bawling her eyes out. She was very saddened that she couldn't find it,” stepmother, Bailey Childers, 27, of Gray Tennessee, told TODAY Parents.
Baillie had daddy doll for most of her life and she keeps it by her side at all times until she lost it on December 28 after dinner and shopping with her dad and stepmom. The doll helps her cope with some of the uncertainty she faces with a father in the military. While he’s not currently deployed, Larry lives in Virginia, where he’s stationed, and Baillie resides in Tennessee. Daddy doll helps her feel less lonely when she can’t see the real deal.
“It gives her something to see his face besides just in a picture and she can kind of cuddle with it,” Childers said. “It's just stayed as her favorite doll. She carries it around everywhere … She has always found it to be her main source of comfort.”
Despite revisiting all their stops that evening, the family did not find the doll and it seemed as if all hope was lost.
“We told her, ‘We'll buy you another one,’ but it obviously wasn't gonna be the same,” Childers said. “It was a very stressful time.”
As Childers searched for the doll in various stores, Larry stumbled upon some good news. He located the doll after a woman shared a picture of it on Facebook after she found it. Haven Hill said:
“I found this in the pinnacle parking lot, if anyone knows who it belongs to please let me know,” she wrote on Facebook. “I thought it looked important and I bet they’re missing it.”
The family contacted Hill immediately. They felt so grateful that Hill tried so hard to find them.
“It was very heartwarming for us. We were so thankful,” Childers said. “It just makes us feel good that there’s some hope in the world.”
The next day, Baillie had daddy doll safely in her embrace and they are again inseparable.
“The doll is incredibly important for our family and someone saw it and tried their best to be able to find the owners of it,” Childers said. “It really made a little girl’s day.”