ORMOND BEACH, FL -- It was an unbearably cute sight that brought joy to neighbors who passed it: an oversize stuffed bear in seasonally appropriate attire lounging outside the Gibel family's home. But one July evening, thieves snatched the doll right off the lawn in the coastal community.
Formerly known as the "helicopter house" because of the chopper the previous owner parked outside the home, the Gibels wanted to keep entertaining the locals. Since they couldn't afford a helicopter, they went with a teddy bear.
"We started with a Halloween outfit," Joyce Gibel said. "Now she has Super Bowl outfits, Christmas, Easter, and I just put on her bathing suit for summer. People would come take pictures of her. I had one lady tell me, 'I would wake up grumpy, and I would come around and see the teddy, and she would put a smile on my face.'" The plush toy had been secured to a wooden bench on the property when the robber seized it, badly damaging the seat.
According to OrmondBeachObserver.com, the Gibels then put a simple, pleading sign on their front lawn that read, "PLEASE RETURN THE BEAR." The original doll has yet to turn up, but something else has.
While the family was out just days after the bear's disappearance, a neighbor spotted a different extra-large stuffed bear, along with a note. The message, scrawled in child-like handwriting, read:
"We noticed that your bear was missing and we love driving by to see it. This bear was given to me when I was a babby and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. Anna"
From the adorable misspelling of "baby" to the selfless sentiment, everything about this gesture has the Gibels wanting to thank the generous donor. But all they have is her first name. So the search is on to find the kind young lady named Anna.
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