SOUTH PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) — The memorial bear that three-year-old, Nathan Lambert, lost during a recent trip to Maine Mall has been found by another three-year-old.
Nathan Lambert was at the Mall on Wednesday, Nov 29 with his mom to have their first family photos taken since his father died in a car accident in May.
Shortly after his father died, Nate's aunt got him a memorial bear, that wears a sweater with his father's name and says "daddy is always here". Wings adorn the back of the sweater to signify that his father is now an angel, says Nate's mom, Kelsey Higgins.
The bear was not wearing its sweater when it was lost.
Higgins says the bear that Nate named 'daddy bear', goes everywhere the toddler goes and it has been a rough couple of days without it.
"His bedtime is usually at 8:00 p.m. without 'daddy bear' it's been closer to 11:00 p.m."
Higgins says she and others have been searching the mall parking lot and the mall since Wednesday but it wasn't until a man from Westbrook saw it posted online that he recognized the bear his daughter had found.
Charles Mourtouphis' three-year-old daughter spotted 'daddy bear' in the Maine Mall parking lot and told her dad she wanted to "rescue" the bear from the rain. Mourtouphis said he doesn't normally let his daughter take home things she finds on the ground but, he said, the bear seemed like it might be important to someone.
Young Nathan was reunited with his daddy bear Friday afternoon and got to meet the toddler who rescued him.
Lost "Daddy Bear"
His mom says she can not believe how quickly word spread on social media about the bear.
"Just the fact that how many people care to try and help us find a teddy bear is amazing."
Higgins says when Nathan's dad passed away the young toddler was very upset. The bear was a way that his mother and family explained that dad was still with him.
They told Nathan, "If you miss dad, hug the bear, if you want to talk to dad, talk to the bear."
Higgins says the bear has eased a lot of his issues and pain. "He is three, so he doesn't know how to verbalize what he is feeling...the bear has helped a lot."
The bear has a zipper and the family says they plan to put Lambert's ashes in the bear when Nathan is older.