On July 24, Mara Soriano, 28, had her black Herschel bag stolen while moving into a new apartment in Vancouver’s West End. In it were her iPad, Nintendo Switch, and citizenship card, but those items weren’t the most valuable. What Soriano wanted back most was a teddy bear that had a recording of her late mother’s voice.
She and her fiancé were in the middle of moving in when they suddenly had to attend to a friend who had been hit by a car. In their hurry, Soriano forgot her bag, CTV News reported.
Devastated, she filed a report to the police and put up posters with a photo of the bear.
“Build-a-Bear with loving message from mom who passed away from Cancer,” the poster reads. “Also lots of important documents. Don’t care about the electronics in the bag, just desperately want my mom’s bear back.”
The tweet quickly gained traction and received over 16,000 retweets and 21,000 likes.
Soon after, actor Ryan Reynolds tweeted that he would reward anyone who returned the bear to Soriano with $5,000. Canadian media personality George Stroumboulopoulos and KRAFT Peanut Butter also joined in on Reynolds’ offer, by pitching $5,000 each to the reward.
According to CTV News, Soriano’s mother, Marilyn Soriano, was diagnosed with cancer about 10 years ago, and passed away last June after a year and a half of treatment. Her mother gave her the bear in December 2017.
In an interview with CTV News, Soriano said the cancer had “eaten away” at her mother. “[T]hat bear was the last reminder of the mom that I knew — it was her voice that I remember growing up.”
After a four-day search, Soriano received an email from someone who said they had the bear and wanted to return it. She reunited with her mom’s bear on July 28, after two people gave it back. They said they saw the security footage Soriano shared and recognised the person who took the backpack. They said they then convinced the guy to give back the bear.
Soriano didn’t miss the chance to update all those who helped her find the bear and shared a photo of the reunion on Twitter.
“Break out the @AviationGin, @VancityReynolds!!! MAMABEAR IS HOME!!! #FOUNDMARASBEAR”