David Moore still remembers when he lost a hat out the window of his dad’s car 60 years ago. He’d leaned out and the wind snatched it away.
He “cried for days,” he recalled on Facebook recently. “There would be no going back for it.”
When the Toronto business owner and father saw a dirtied stuffed animal along the side of an Ontario highway earlier this month, he felt for its estranged human owner.
“I just felt like it had to be rescued,” he told CTVNews.ca. “Some kid had lost their stuffed animal.”
A Facebook photo of the rescued toy has been shared more than 1,000 times online in Moore’s efforts to find its owner. “There was just something about seeing this raggedy looking stuffed animal sitting (there),” he said.
He had passed it a couple times earlier, only ever catching a quick glimpse as he passed by in a blur. But on the third time on Mother’s Day weekend this month, he was stuck in a traffic jam. He seized the opportunity and jumped out to grab it. The plush toy was a mess from an unknown amount of time along the QEW. His girlfriend insisted fleas would infest his car. But after tossing it in the wash, it came out almost as good as new.
He doesn’t know the brand, or even what animal it’s supposed to be. “It looks like a cross between an Abominable Snowman and a white ape,” he said. Regardless, he decided to name it “Lucky.”
Moore’s photos of the stuffed animal have been shared across Facebook on personal profiles and in community pages in cities around Canada and internationally. Someone in the North African country of Morocco even reached out to him, he said.
“It’s really struck a chord with people,” he said. “One guy sent a message from Nova Scotia and said his daughter wanted to adopt Lucky. Dude, I was crying. It brought tears to my eyes.”
One woman writing from Napanee, Ont., called Moore’s efforts “lovely” and that she had lost her Raggedy Ann doll out a car window on a family vacation in New York.
While comments have been overwhelmingly positive online, one woman remarked that Moore should not have stopped his vehicle on a highway. The Ontario Highway Traffic Act does prohibit stopping a vehicle on a roadway, but Moore says he retrieved the plush toy quickly and was back in the “non-flow” of traffic immediately. “It was completely stop-and-go traffic,” he said. Most commenters chimed in with support: “He is better off with you than the side of the road,” wrote one user.
Though he’s set on finding the original owner, if there is no reunion at the end of Lucky’s story, he’d like to connect with the father in Nova Scotia who brought up “adoption.” “That’s what’s in my heart,” he said.