Some are calling it The Mystery of the Lost Rabbit.
Others now refer to it as Operation Mr. Floppy.
Whatever the case, thanks to a lot of haring about, staff members at the San Mateo Medical Office returned a beat-up but very loved stuffed animal to its young owner.
It all began when a Kaiser Permanente member found the bunny in an elevator and gave it to Robert Douglass, a unit manager in the Adult Primary Care Department. “Based on his somewhat matted fur, I could tell he was well loved,” Douglass said of the rabbit.
Taking on the role of detective, Douglass snapped a picture of the stuffed animal, wrote a note about the found bunny, and emailed it to everyone in the building.
With no takers, the rabbit kept Security employees company at the front welcome desk.
Down a Rabbit Hole — and Up Again
“As the days turned into a couple weeks and the bunny was still sitting there, I began to think about my kids and how important their little stuffed friends were to them,” Douglass said. “I didn’t like knowing there may be a kid out there missing his or her friend.”
Douglass sent an email to Medical Office Controller Rich Huegel asking if his team could pull some demographic information on children who visited the San Mateo Medical Clinic the day the bunny was found. Within 2 hours, Huegel sent an Excel file with the names of about 20 children and Douglass began making calls.
“It was about my 10th call when I spoke to the mother of a boy named Nathan who said it was her son’s lost bunny. Nathan is about 2 years old — not quite old enough to remember a bunny reunion,” said Douglass. “So I wrote a letter to him from his bunny buddy that he could read much later.”
That cheery note from the stuffed rabbit told Nathan that during the separation, “I spent my time playing, taking naps, made a new friend, and read a lot of books.”
Douglass wanted Nathan to know his bunny had been well cared for, so he bought a basket, a book about rabbits, and another little stuffed animal. He wrapped the bunnies in one of the blankets made in the department for Project Linus, the organization that gives the blankets to children who are for some reason away from home and thus scared or lonely.
Douglass is soon heading off to drop off the package to Nathan, meaning that The Case of the Missing Bunny is a whisker away from being closed.