1:05 PM PDT, October 14, 2021
A little girl and her teddy bear were reunited a year after she lost the beloved toy while hiking Hidden Lake Trail at Glacier National Park with her family last October. The unlikely reunion was all thanks to a park ranger, who found it and cared for it in the meanwhile, and a family friend who spotted it sitting in his car.
“There was something special about this teddy bear,” ranger Tom Mazzarisi said, according to a statement by Glacier National Park.
Naomi, the original owner of the bear, first met Teddy while she had been living in an orphanage in Ethiopia. Her adopted mom, Addie Pascal, explained in a Facebook post that she and her husband sent the bear to her from their home in Wyoming before they were able to meet her in person.
“He kept her company until she could come home for good,” Pascal said.
Ever since, Naomi brought Teddy everywhere – from stops like Rwanda and Croatia on their way home from Ethiopia, to camping holidays and beach days.
But Naomi lost Teddy when she and her family had been hiking in Glacier National Park last fall.
Luckily, Mazzarisi picked it up. He and other rangers had been cleaning up for the season when he came across the damaged stuffed animal.
“Bears are my passion,” he said. “I just didn’t have the heart to throw it away.”
He made Teddy the mascot for his patrol car, displaying him right in the center of the dashboard – which is where a visitor spotted the bear, and thought it looked familiar.
In June, Pascal wrote a plea on Facebook, asking any of her friends if they could keep an eye out for Teddy if they happened to be hiking Glacier National Park.
“There would be no greater joy than to re-unite our daughter with her very special furry friend,” she said.
Luckily, a friend did, and left a note with park staff and rangers were happy to hand the bear over to the friend.