Extraordinary People

Stolen teddy with voice audio of dying mother sparks nationwide hunt

Incredible story of how one woman was reunited with her most prized possession after it went missing.

Never come between a person and their teddy bear, no matter how old they are.

One woman was left devastated after her ted was stolen while moving homes, as it was pinched outside the van that she and her fiancé had hired to transport their belongings.

And this wasn’t just any old bear that could be replaced with a quick Amazon shipping.

Mara Soriano was gifted the toy by her mother Marilyn as she was battling cancer, before she died aged just 53 in June of last year.

The teddy was extra special as it included a voice-recording message from Marilyn.

With the bear holding such sentimental value no money could buy, Mara’s story swiftly caught the eye of social networkers and famous faces alike – namely Ryan Reynolds.

The A-lister, who is married to Gossip Girl actress Blake Lively, offered an impressive $5,000 (£3k) reward to get the bear back to its rightful owner.

His generosity spread like wildfire, with other high-profile names joining forces to offer dollar too, including Canadian TV and radio personality George Stroumboulopoulos and Kraft Peanut Butter adding a further $5k each – making the total reward offer $15k (£9k).

In a real-life spin of the Pixar classic Toy Story, their community effort resulted in the bear finding its way home.

Mara, a storyboard artist based in Vancouver, tweeted her joy, writing: “NOT A SINGLE SCRATCH ON HER!

“Two kind Samaritans returned her to us in a safe space, voice is there, just no glasses!!”

Sadly, the glasses were a replica of the ones her mother wore. Though Mara said she was still over the moon to be reunited with her ted.

She added: “It means just everything to me honestly. There was a part of me that thought I’d never see it again, for sure.

“It’s a big city, there were so many places she could have been, it was like trying to find a needle in a haystack.

“Now that I’ve got her, I just feel a little bit more hopeful and a little bit brighter. Every time I look at that bear now it’s just a reminder that my mum really is with me always, that she’ll always come back to me.”

CCTV footage revealed a man took the bag packed with valuables, before the bear was found in a nearby park and found by two passers-by who returned it to Mara.

And it seems Reynolds is a man of his word, having wired the reward money to the men.

Buzz Lightyear, eat your heart out!


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