Many parents know the panic that ensues when a child loses their favourite teddy bear.
For Mittagong mother Claudia Stirling and her five-year-old daughter Clementine, this scenario had a happy ending.
After a heated discussion with her daughter before a road trip to Sydney recently, Claudia placed her child’s care bear named Doudou on the car roof.
In a rush to get her four children and the dog into their respective seats, she forgot about to bring the bear down.
En route to her destination, she noticed Doudou had ejected itself from the roof and proceeded to roll into the middle of the Hume Motorway.
Her speed dropped back from 110 kilometres per hour to 70 as she analysed where she could pull over to grab the bear.
Panic ensued as she proceeded to break the news to her child that her beloved bear had left the safety of the roof and had fallen into the middle of the highway.
For the next 24 hours mother’s guilt had kicked in for Claudia, as she plotted in her mind how she would rescue the bear.
While she didn’t know where the bear was, she knew it was somewhere about 10 minutes into the family’s journey.
“I was determined I was going to rescue this bear – something I would never ever do for any other toy,” she said.
On her return to the Southern Highlands, she and Clementine looked out for Doudou. They were both overcome with excitement when they finally spotted the bear.
After deciding it was not safe to retrieve the bear herself, Claudia’s partner got in contact with senior constable Craig Larkin from the Hume Police District.
Mr Larkin called Claudia about 20 minutes after she had arrived home from the journey with the good news that he had retrieved the bear.
Claudia was over the moon when she heard the news, and was thankful for the time and assistance of senior constable Larkin.
“[Craig] went out of his way to find my child’s toy,” she said.
“Since moving to the Southern Highlands I’ve had the pleasure of meeting many of the amazing representatives of the force and I’d like to thank them.”
Senior constable Larkin said this was his first teddy bear rescue in his 16 years on the job.
“We do a lot of awful jobs. It’s always nice to do a job with a nice outcome,” he said.
“I’ve got a little fella myself, and he’s very attached to his toys. It makes me happy to be a part of a job like this.”