By Wendy | October 28, 2009
(As sent in by Brenda Baitzel – Tuggy the Bear’s “grandma”)
The summer of 2001 we went on vacation to New Hampshire, and for a day trip we drove over to Shelburne, VT specifically to visit the The Vermont Teddy Bear Factory. My daughter was only 7 years old at the time and after taking the tour we let her pick out a bear and she decided on “Tuggy.” She selected the “friendship” stuffing, picked out the heart and tucked it inside, and when they finished sewing him up she cut the “umbilical cord.”
Being the only child at home, she developed a very close bond with this bear! Sleeping with it every night, and taking it on all future adventures. A little over two years passed and we went to Atlantic City for a weekend getaway. It was the weekend before New Year’s, which also fell on her birthday. After we checked in at the front desk, we got on the elevator; she had Tuggy under her arm and we were all loaded down with coats, purses, small over night bags and misc things, and head up to our room. We get into the room and start putting things away and all of a sudden she goes… “Where’s Tuggy?” We started searching frantically, running back to the elevator, trying to remember which one we came up on…. (there were 7 or 8!). As we were standing there waiting for the elevator, we met a bellman named Freddy, and when we got into the elevator he looked at my daughter and said, “Why are you so sad?” Jessica told him that it was “the worst birthday she has ever had because she had lost Tuggy” and we were looking for him, with no luck. He was not in the hall way, he’s not on the elevator, and he’s not in the lobby. We went back up to the room to search again, but he was nowhere to be found. I called security telling them how important he was and asked them if they could possibly look in the elevators to see if they could find him. They told me that they would be on the look out for him and we left for dinner. Jessica was extremely upset! I told her not to worry that we would find him, someone would turn him in.
After dinner we got a phone call from Freddy, asking if we had found him and after telling him no, he asked if he could come up to the room to bring Jessica another bear. Of course we said yes. Jessica thanked him and went to bed. She cried herself to sleep and was still crying when we got up in the morning. I called security, again (yes, Tuggy was that important) and they told me that if they found him they would send him to our house.
So we told Jessica once again as we were leaving the hotel room not to worry because when they found Tuggy they would send him home. (Secretly, I seriously doubted if we would ever see him again.) If you could have seen the look on this little girl’s face… she was heartbroken!
While we were in the elevator going to the lobby, we decide to eat breakfast before we got on the road and so we stopped at a restaurant we had seen advertised that was on the second or third floor. When we got to the front of the line the hostess asked Jessica why she looked so sad… and Jessica told her that she lost her Teddy Bear last night and we were leaving him behind and going home. The lady got this surprised look on her face and asked Jessica what he looked like. She said “He’s brown with a pink t-shirt” and the lady reached down under the counter and pulled out “Tuggy!” I could have cried. Jessica was soooo happy! Evidently when Jessica had dropped him in the elevator, someone had picked him up and turned him in at the hostess counter the night before. She said she was going to turn him in to lost and found the first chance she got. Talking about the best birthday present ever!!! And how lucky we were that we decided to try a new restaurant that morning! Amazing!
We have stayed at the same hotel every time we go back to Atlantic City and yes, we still keep in touch with Freddy. By the way, I bought a cat collar and a small leash for Tuggy to wear whenever he left the house after that little adventure! Jessica is almost 16 now and still sleeps with Tuggy every night, even taking Tuggy with her on sleep overs. All of her friends accept Tuggy as a way of life!
Thanks for letting me share our special story….