A Vancouver woman has been reunited with a teddy bear that has special significance for her.
Mara Soriano’s mother, Marilyn Soriano, 53, died on June 29, 2019, after battling cancer. Mara Soriano said her mom gifted her the bear, which includes a voice-recorded message, shortly before her passing.
During a hectic move last week, the bear was stolen from outside the U-Haul that Soriano and her fiance rented to transport their belongings. It was packed in a bag with other valuables.
On Saturday, after CNN’s news partner CBC reported a story about the missing bear, the search for Soriano’s bear spread quickly across social media and caught the attention of actor Ryan Reynolds.
After Reynolds’ offer, Soriano told CNN on Thursday that Canadian TV and radio personality George Stroumboulopoulos and Kraft Peanut Butter each pitched in $5,000, making the total reward offer $15,000.
In a tweet Wednesday, Soriano said the bear had been returned to her by two Good Samaritans “without a scratch on her” and voice box intact. The only thing missing was the bear’s glasses, a replica of the ones her mother wore.
“It means just everything to me honestly,” Soriano said. “There was a part of me that thought I’d never see it again, for sure. It’s a big city, there were so many places she could have been, it was like trying to find a needle in a haystack.”
“Now that I’ve got her (the bear), I just feel a little bit more hopeful and a little bit more bright,” she said. “Every time I look at that bear now it’s just a reminder that my mom really is with me always, that she’ll always come back to me.”
“In happier news… thank you everyone who searched high and low,” Reynolds tweeted Wednesday. “To the person who took the bear, thanks for keeping it safe. Vancouver is awesome.”
Security footage from Soriano’s apartment building revealed a man taking the bag packed with her valuables, according to CBC. The men who returned her bear told Soriano they found it at a nearby park.
Soriano spoke with Reynolds and said he wired the reward money to men who found the bear. She said she’s in contact with Stroumboulopoulos and Kraft Peanut Butter to get the good Samaritans their full reward.