Social media and a good dose of hope have reunited a little girl with a lost teddy she’d had since being adopted from an orphanage in Ethiopia.
Naomi Pascal thought her teddy bear was gone forever when she lost it along a trail in Glacier National Park, Montana, back in 2020.
But thanks to a social media plea, a family friend, and an observant, soft-hearted park ranger, the bear is now back with Naomi in Jackson, Wyoming.
Teddy was the first gift Ben and Addie Pascal sent to Naomi before she was adopted from an Ethiopian orphanage in 2016.
She took Teddy with her on family trips to Ethiopia, Rwanda, Croatia and Greece, and when her dad Ben took her to Montana in October 2020, the bear once again came along.
Family friend Terri Hayden then watched the children during a hike in the National Park, and no one realised Teddy had been left behind until they got back the house that night.
It then snowed, meaning the higher elevations of the park were closed and Terri was prevented from returning to search for the teddy bear. She made a report to park officials, but had no immediate luck.
Some time later, ranger Tom Mazzarisi spotted the bear soaking wet and sitting in melted snow near the Hidden Lake Trail, while he and two others were doing end-of-season work.
According to AP reports, Mazzarisi was unaware the stuffed animal had been reported lost, but couldn’t bring himself to dump it in the trash.
“Typically, items that aren’t worth much monetarily get thrown out,” he said.
So the bear “hibernated” in his cabin in St Mary, Mazzarisi said, and when he returned to work in April he “immediately put him on the dash of my patrol truck”, as a “little mascot”.
Addie posted another plea to Facebook in June, appealing for help to find the bear.
She wrote: “He’s been by her side for so many milestones. But there are many more adventures to be had!”
Meanwhile, Terri felt bad for little Naomi, and when she and some family members went to the park in late September, she told them about it and stopped to check on potential lost-and-found sites.
“I’m a woman of faith,” Hayden said. “And that morning I said, ‘OK Lord, if this bear is around, please put that bear in my path and let me come home with that bear today.’”
The group got lucky – Terri spotted a stuffed bear in a ranger’s truck after being turned back from a trail closed due to bear activity.
When she took a picture and sent it to Addie, she quickly confirmed it was Teddy.
While the ranger’s truck was locked, as it was Mazzarisi’s day off, they left a note on the vehicle and found some other rangers.
“I run up to these rangers and I’m hyperventilating,” Hayden said. “And I’m going, ‘There’s a truck down at the trailhead and there’s a bear sitting on the dashboard.’”
The rangers knew about the bear, confirmed where it was found and soon got Teddy back to Terri, along with a sweet junior park ranger badge and hat.
The bear was then shipped back to Naomi, who said she was really excited to have her pal back.
Terri also bought another bear for Mazzarisi, as a replacement mascot.
The lost-and-found story of Teddy has since garnered 12,000 likes on the Glacier National Park Facebook page.
Ben Pascal described it as “a story of hope and kindness and people just working together”.
“It touched people’s hearts. It gave ’em hope. It made ’em feel like there is good in the world, which I believe there is.”