HICKORY, N.C. (WBTV) - Meet "new” Hippo. He arrived Friday in Hickory.
You can’t see a picture of “old” Hippo, because he’s missing. His owner, Hayden, misses him terribly. Weeks ago on Nov. 29, Hayden – who lives with autism – traveled to Key West with his family. In the process, he lost Hippo.
“Hippo is not any ordinary stuffed animal,” mom Anna Boone wrote. “Hayden was 3 months old when he received him and clings to Hippo. This animal provides safety and security and has for years. Hippo was with Hayden as he underwent surgeries for tubes, adenoids, tonsils, and eyes. Hippo is a huge part of our family and Hayden has tossed and turned since not having him.”
When they realized they lost him, terror set in. Anna posted a plea on social media that hundreds of people shared. Strangers even went by the lost-and-found at Miami International Airport, Miami, Florida to inquire about the stuffed animal.
While there, the story of Hippo grabbed the attention of Ms. Francesca, a senior flight services manager at MIA. When she heard about dearly-missed Hippo, she took it upon herself to purchase a new version from Amazon. Then she helped the staff prepare a letter from Hippo, for Hayden.
“Today my son received a surprise package from American Airlines containing gifts, festive accessories, and a hand-signed card with photographs of Hippo with the Miami-based AA employees," Anna said. "As he opened the box, balloons came out. He was overjoyed. The happiness was great to see."
We all get frustrated with airlines. Many times it’s warranted. But here’s a story of compassion and humanity of employees trying to help a child who doesn’t live in their city, or even state. Well worth sharing.
Thank you, Anna. So glad Hayden is smiling.
PS: “Old” Hippo is still missing, in case anyone comes across him.