Little girl loses beloved toy bunny at store, manager goes all the way to landfill to save it

The manager even searched through the store's surveillance footage to track down the bunny
July 25, 2018 4:40 pm Last Updated: July 25, 2018 5:01 pm

Losing an item that’s near and dear to your heart can be very upsetting, especially when you’re 3 years old.

Jenna Rachal’s 3-year-old daughter, Madison, accidentally left her “beloved bunny” behind at a Publix grocery store in Daphne, Alabama, on July 12. The stuffed animal was a “special friend” that had been with her daughter since birth, and now the two were separated.

After realizing “Bunny” hadn’t made the trip home, Rachal returned to the store and asked the Publix employees to keep an eye out for a lonely stuffed toy.

Madison stands with her stuffed rabbit that went missing at a Publix in Daphne, Alabama. (Courtesy Jenna Rachal)

Wanting to find Madison’s bunny, she posted a plea for help on a local Facebook page.

“Help us find bunny!!” she wrote.

Her post received numerous comments. Many people wished the family luck, while others suggested Rachal purchase a similar stuffed animal and come up with a clever story with why Bunny looked different.

Rachal did end up buying a new stuffed rabbit and giving it to Madison, but “the sentimental value in the original bunny will be very missed,” she said.

While Madison was getting used to a cleaner Bunny, she had no idea that Mike Gayheart, the manager at Publix, was hard at work searching for the original Bunny.

Gayheart searched through surveillance footage, hoping to catch a glimpse of where Bunny could have hopped off to after Rachal and Madison accidentally left it in a children’s shopping cart.

He spotted the stuffed animal, but the toy’s fate was not favorable.

Bunny was thrown in the trash, and to make matters worse the stuffed animal ended up at the landfill.

While Gayheart easily could have given up and shared the unfortunate news with Rachal he decided to initiate phase two: Operation Save Bunny.

“So, Mike, the amazing manager at Publix in Daphne + 3 additional employees went to the landfill to dig for bunny and FOUND HIM! Mike took bunny home and washed him 3 times to get him nice and clean,” Rachal wrote on Facebook.

Posted by Cassie Fambro – NBC 15 on Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Rachal shared photos and videos of Madison and Bunny, who the 3-year-old claimed didn’t smell, though her mom begged to differ, together once again.

“Maddie has not let him go and she says he doesn’t stink,” she wrote.

Alex Chandonnet, who claimed to have been the one to rescue Bunny from the landfill, commented on Rachal’s post.

“It was awesome to find it know that she would be reunited,” Chandonnet wrote. “I have a 2 year old son and know how it is when you lose something they love and find comfort in.”

Posted by Cassie Fambro – NBC 15 on Tuesday, July 17, 2018

“This is above and beyond and a true example of the good people in the world!” Rachal wrote.