DESTIN, Fla. (WKRG) — Okaloosa County deputies came to the rescue after a beloved stuffed animal named Lovey got separated from her owner on Dec. 29 at the Destin-Fort Walton Beach airport.
A mother and daughter duo from Italy were traveling through Florida to California during a family holiday tour when 3-year-old Adeline lost Lovey.
Grandmother to Adeline, Leigh Ann Pincus, told Lovey’s remarkable journey home to WKRG News 5.
“They had flown to Florida to visit Adeline’s paternal grandparents before coming to California to visit us for a few weeks, and when they were leaving Florida, they lost Lovey in the airport,” said Pincus. “They realized that when they got on the plane and initially the flight attendant told my daughter that she could get off the plane and go look for her, but then they would let her off.”
Pincus said Lovey was a baby-shower gift that Adeline has loved since her birth. This fact made it easy for the grandmothers to jump into action.
“So I immediately called lost and found, as did the paternal grandmother. Adeline’s dad who was back home in Italy emailed lost and found and they told us that nothing had been turned in. So at that point, I reached out to the Okaloosa Sheriff’s Department and asked if someone would kindly help us locate Lovey,” said Pincus.
When Adeline and her mom Erika made it to California, Pincus said they were both upset, but Erika was the most distraught.
“Erika was still crying when they got to San Francisco that day,” said Pincus. “When they got off the plane Adeline told me ‘it was OK and that the people in the airport were going to look for Lovey,” but Erika was still crying at the thought of losing Lovey, she felt that new mom guilt that she had let her baby down.”
The next day, the family got good news. OCSO deputies found Lovey and were prepared to ship her off to California.
“We tracked her on FedEx and Lovey had stops in Georgia and Mississippi, Texas, Arizona, and then California so we told her that Lovey had quite a story to tell,” said Pincus.
The family tried an old goldfish trick on Adeline and ordered a replacement Lovey on eBay, but Pincus said that plan failed.
“She was calling her ‘Replacement Lovey,’ but she quickly discarded her once Lovey showed up,” said Pincus.
This isn’t Lovey’s first time on her own. Leigh Ann and Erica said Adeline lost Lovey in Positano, Italy during a road trip. The family backtracked and found the stuffed animal on the side of the road and it had been run over.
“Lovey has a lot of lives,” said a laughing Leigh Ann.
Erika and Leigh Ann said they want to extend a big thank you to the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office for searching for and returning Lovey. They shared photos of a happy Adeline with her Lovey back safely in her arms.