You’re used to seeing actor Ryan Reynolds saving the day playing superheroes in the movies — and now he’s showing that he’s definitely one of the good guys in real life, too. On July 25, the actor offered a $5,000 reward for the safe return of a stolen teddy bear.
He did this in response to a post from a Canadian Broadcast Corporation reporter, Deborah Goble, about a 28-year-old Vancouver woman’s stolen backpack. The bag contained a custom-made Build-a-Bear plush toy that played a recorded message from the woman’s late mom.
Reynolds, a Vancouver native, tweeted that he is offering $5,000 to “anyone who returns this bear to Mara. Zero questions asked. I think we all need this bear to come home.”
Vancouver: $5,000 to anyone who returns this bear to Mara. Zero questions asked. I think we all need this bear to come home. https://t.co/L4teoxoY50
— Ryan Reynolds (@VancityReynolds) July 25, 2020
According to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Mara Soriano was moving into a new apartment in Vancouver’s West End on July 24 when she got a phone call from a friend who was scheduled to help. The friend had been hit by a van while biking there.
While distracted with the news, she put her bag down and went to help her injured friend. When she returned, the bag was gone. It contained important documents as well as valuable electronics, but the bear is the only item she truly wants back.
Soriano’s mother, Marilyn Soriano, died of cancer in June 2019 at the age of 53. She recorded a final message for her daughter before going into hospice care and had the audio put into the bear.
“It was so important to me because she had a recording on it that was specifically just for me that said she loved me, she was proud of me, and she’ll always be with me,” Soriano told CNN. “I hugged it every time I missed her.”
Soriano posted a picture of herself with her mother as a reply to Goble’s post.
Thank you so much Deborah for spreading the news, getting the word out helps. Here is a picture of me and my mama. pic.twitter.com/14T6O8MX5T
— mara soriano | MAMABEAR IS HOME! (@drawmaradraw) July 25, 2020
Soriano was able to get her building concierge to check the security camera footage. In it, a man was seen taking the bag and walking away. She posted footage of the theft to Twitter when she received it on July 27.
UPDATE: ACTUAL FOOTAGE OF THE THEFT! When I dropped the bag, my fiance was still in the alley, not inside, so it would have been right beside the uHaul cabin. This happened just after he pulled into the loading bay. pic.twitter.com/6eoGzVVr2t
— mara soriano | MAMABEAR IS HOME! (@drawmaradraw) July 27, 2020
People were heartbroken by Soriano’s devastating story, and Reynolds’ tweet has only helped to amplify it. It has now been retweeted more than 97,000 times. Several other celebrities have also tweeted their support.
The Vancouver Police Department also tweeted out about the missing bear, asking anyone with information about its whereabouts to call 604-717-3321:
Have you seen this bear? It was stolen from a backpack yesterday in the West End and it has sentimental value to the owner. Please call us if you see it at 604-717-3321. https://t.co/rcofgjkroJ
— Vancouver Police (@VancouverPD) July 25, 2020
Then, early on July 29, Soriano tweeted out some fantastic news: “MAMABEAR IS HOME!!!” she wrote with a picture of her hugging the bear:
— mara soriano | MAMABEAR IS HOME! (@drawmaradraw) July 29, 2020
When Soriano got a lead on the bear via email, she arranged to meet the men (who said they’d found the bear at a park) at the CBC. “I called Deborah Goble because she was the person who broke the story, and I couldn’t have done this without her, so I wanted her to be there, too,” she said in Goble’s follow-up story.
Get your tissues ready (if you haven’t already cried) before you watch the CBC’s video of Soriano listening to her mother’s recorded voice as she snuggles the bear upon its return:
We went into the newsroom and Dan shot this video. 2 men brought the bear to the CBC lobby. Mara and I were there. The happy ending we all needed. https://t.co/ObV9uk3NVG
— Deborah Goble (@CBCDeborahGoble) July 29, 2020
Soriano tweeted that the bear was returned in good shape. “Two kind samaritans returned her to us in a safe space, voice is there, just no glasses!!”
No word yet from Reynolds about the reward, but he did retweet Soriano’s tweet, thanking everyone who looked for the bear and writing, “Vancouver is awesome.”
— Ryan Reynolds (@VancityReynolds) July 29, 2020
We’re so glad the bear made it safely back where she belonged!