A 5-year-old boy was reunited with his beloved teddy bear on Wednesday – but not before the stuffed animal got to go on a little adventure of its own.
Once the family returned home to Columbia, S.C., and noticed the stuffed animal’s disappearance, they called the park to see if the bear was there – it was.
Park rangers agreed to send the teddy bear back to Thompson, but first, they outfitted the forgotten toy in a ranger hat and took it on an excursion around the park, Myrtle Beach Online reported.
Assistant Park Manager Amanda Jenkins was reportedly the one who hatched the idea to bring the bear around the park and take snaps to send to Thompson.
“We wanted to show how much fun the bear had on his little mini-vacation,” Jenkins told Myrtle Beach Online.
The rangers sent the family the pictures from the bear’s “mini-vacation,” as well as the bear’s new ranger hat along the bear itself.
Thompson was reportedly thrilled with the photos and named his bear Mr. Junior Ranger Bear.
“When he saw the photos, he said, ‘bear went fishing,’” Thompson’s dad, Greg McDaniel, said to Myrtle Beach Online.
To add to the sweetness of the story, Thompson made a hand-written thank you note for the rangers who kept his bear safe.
“Thank you for keeping my bear for a few days. Thompson,” the letter read.
“I will say I’m not surprised by this genuine act of kindness,” Kaley Lawrimore of the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources told FTW Outdoors. “The good folks at Myrtle Beach State Park not only returned Thompson’s bear to him, but also gave him a happy memory that he’ll always associate with one of our many great state parks.”
Lawrimore added that she hopes Thompson “continues to take his stuffed bear on many more adventures around the state.”
Thompson’s bear is not the first forgotten stuffed animal to be taken on an adventure. In Norfolk, Va., a little girl’s stuffed dog was found at the airport by a police officer and taken around, posing for photos before being returned.
In January, a little boy’s stuffed bear was taken around a posh resort when he was forgotten at a hotel in Hawaii, earning praise from the child’s mother.