MARYSVILLE, Wash. — What started as a Memorial Day weekend road trip ended in a social media frenzy for a lost dinosaur toy, and on Friday, the child was reunited with his beloved stuffed animal.
Carlyn Schmidgall and Megan Larson were traveling to eastern Washington in horrendous holiday weekend traffic when they spotted a green dinosaur lying by the road. Larson said it was one time when traffic slowdowns were a good thing.
“We just opened the door and slowly plucked it up,” Larson said. “My brother just had a baby, so I know how kids are with their stuffed buddies.”
It was presumed to belong to a child. The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) decided to turn to social media and share a picture in case any of their hundreds of thousands of social media followers recognized the stuffed companion.
“The dinosaur looked like it was really missing its family, so we posted it on all of our social media platforms,” said Mike Allende, WSDOT social media manager.
The post was shared so many times, and an army of followers seemed purpose-driven in finding the owner, Allende said. A lengthy thread of responses and countless shares finally led to the right inbox. It only took a few hours before some responses turned into great news, according to WSDOT.
Haley Librande was delighted when she discovered an army of do-gooders was hard at work trying to reunite the dinosaur with her little boy Kameron. Turns out Kameron named him Dino.
Librande said it’s a familiar tale of her son playing with his buddy in the car window when a gusty wind swept him away.
“It’s amazing so many people cared enough to track us down and return Dino,” Librande said.
Kameron met up with his heroes Friday at Jennings Memorial Park in Marysville, which just so happens to have a prehistoric playground featuring dinosaurs. Kameron ran as fast as his dinosaur rubber boots would go and quickly took Dino to the playground for some fun.
WSDOT said it's proud to have played a part in a happy story.
“We have a pretty robust and passionate social media following so I was confident we might get some good responses,” Allende said. “And I’m thrilled it actually led to this reunion.”