If you've ever lost something that has serious sentimental value, then you'll relate to this story. Bridget Hughes was wearing her hat while napping during a layover in the Phoenix airport. But by Monday morning when she woke up in her hotel after her flight was canceled, the hat was missing. She spent all of Monday retracing her steps, trying to find her beloved, floppy brown hat before turning to Facebook, posting a plea for help.
Why was the hat such a big deal? It had been the one her mother wore while undergoing chemotherapy treatment for breast cancer. Hughes' mother died the disease on February 12, 1997, when 23-year-old Bridget was just 7 years old. Her aunt had given her the hat last year, the latest in a series of gifts that she kept to give Bridget as she grew. Okay, activate tear ducts.
Can the power of Facebook help bring Bridget back her beloved hat? I certainly hope so. She posted an update with her photo, wearing the hat, saying it represented her mother's "fierce goofy independent spirit."
At first, 63 friends shared her update. Then more than 130,000 did. The airport has been besieged by calls, emails, and tweets asking about the hat. So far, no luck.
Hughes is taking it in stride, but her responses in an interview with the Los Angeles Times literally have me crying as I write this. I'm a bit of a sucker for sentimental mom gifts. (Remember that part in The Land Before Time where they talk about how the leaf is a "mother present, very special"? Sniff, sniff.)
She says she will grieve losing her mother's hat, but feels "immensely blessed at the same time, and immensely grateful, that so many people cared for me." She wondered if this is what her mother meant for her to have all along. "This has her fingerprints all over it," she said.
It's incredibly moving how Facebook has motivated people to reach out and try and help Hughes find her hat. But not because it's just a hat. Because we all know how much it means to have a piece of our mothers with us, especially when we don't have them anymore.
Have you ever lost something that has serious sentimental value?
Image via Bridget Hughes/Facebook