Boy reunited with teddy bear he lost 1,000 miles from home

When 5-year-old Ezekiel Burnett threw his stuffed bear, Teddy, so high at the Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport that it landed in the rafters, his parents figured that was the last time their son would ever see his plush friend.

It was Thanksgiving weekend, Jessica and David Burnett told The Washington Post, and because they were about to board their flight home to Dallas, they didn't have time to stop and ask for help getting Teddy down. Ezekiel was sad, and while he took some comfort in a replacement bear his mom bought, he still "asked me one night if Teddy was in heaven," Jessica said.

Earlier this month, Jessica said she was left "speechless" when Teddy, a gift her son received at birth, showed up in her Facebook feed. The airport had shared a photo of the bear, saying it was found on Jan. 4 by a traveler who turned it in to the lost and found. Teddy was pictured with Violet, a purple monkey who lost its owner two years ago, and the airport was hoping to track down Teddy's family.

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To confirm that Teddy belonged to Ezekiel, Jessica submitted a photo of her son on a couch with the bear in the background. Instead of sending Teddy home in the mail, the airport and Southwest Airlines arranged for Ezekiel and David to fly to Milwaukee to pick Teddy up on Valentine's Day. Ezekiel told the Post he could tell the airport workers "took good care" of Teddy, and he's glad his friend was able to "go to a lot of places in the airport and have fun." Still, he's relieved that Teddy made his way back home, where he's "happy on the bed with the other bears."

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Catherine Garcia

Catherine Garcia is night editor for Her writing and reporting has appeared in Entertainment Weekly and, The New York Times, The Book of Jezebel, and other publications. A Southern California native, Catherine is a graduate of the University of Redlands and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.