A 10-year-old Brit was reunited with the cow teddy she left at a remote Icelandic campsite – thanks to a team of strangers who passed it on for 2,300 miles using the power of social media.
Hattie Sains lost Cowie at a campsite near Vik i Myrdal, Iceland, three months ago and had been distraught ever since.
After trying and failing to find a courier to return the ted, her parents Chrissie and Richard Sains, 42 and 40, had almost given up before Richard posted on a Facebook group asking for advice and kind strangers offered to get Cowie home.
Richard, who said he has always been wary of social media and its dangers, now says that he sees the beauty of it and that he will pay back the kindness his family experienced.
Tour guide Óðinn Yngvason, 43, drove to pick up the toy, and took the toy on a tour of Iceland, snapping pics of the ted at waterfalls, mountains and landmarks.
He handed it over to Facebook well-wisher Halldor Ingvason at Reykjavik airport.
Halldor, 46, was flying to Stanstead for a gig, and picked up a cuddly toy puffin pal, before getting photos of Cowie in the cockpit of the plane.
On Thursday, Richard met up with Halldor, from Akureyri, Iceland, in a pub in Bloomsbury where the final handover took place – along with a few pints.
Software business owner Richard from Billericay, Essex, said: “We were going to keep it a surprise but I kept seeing those photos so I had to show Hattie.
“She was like ‘what? Is Cowie going to come home? Please can you make sure he’s on my bed so when I wake up he’s there!'”
He added: “For me I’m always a little bit hesitant with social media – there can be a lot of negativity.
“But actually you can be put almost immediately in contact with fantastic people around the world who are willing to help you.
“I’m more willing to help people, I’ll definitely pay it back.”
Hattie got Cowie when she was just two years old and has been her favourite toy ever since.
He accompanied her on her holiday to Iceland with her parents and sister Meg, 12, in August, for a road trip on the scenic Route One around the country.
The night after leaving a campsite near Vik i Myrdal, Hattie couldn’t find Cowie when she was getting into bed.
Mum Chrissie said: “She was really upset at first.
“She thought she might have lost him rather than left him.
“We got in touch with campsite and they said she’d left him within the covers of bell tent.
“Nobody seemed to be able to post him back.”
They were forced to fly back to the UK without Cowie, but author Chrissie was still determined to get him back.
Software business owner Richard decided to give it one last go and post on a Facebook group called ‘Travel Iceland’ asking for shipping advice.
To his surprise, he received about 20 comments from kind strangers offering to help shuttle Cowie through different legs of his journey.