June 20 (UPI) — A New York 4-year-old who lost his beloved stuffed cheetah on the highway received some help from the Rhode Island State Police.
Brooklyn resident Stephanie Ketcher said her son, Will Ketcher, lost his stuffed animal, Roger, out a window while the family was traveling on Interstate 95 near West Greenwich, R.I.
Ketcher said traffic conditions seemed too dangerous to stop and look for the toy.
The mother said she helped Will write a letter to the Rhode Island State Police to cheer him up, but she hadn’t expected to get a response.
“Dear Rhode Island State Highway Patrol,” the letter read. “I lost my Roger … can you please find him? I love him.”
“Roger is a cheetah,” the mother and son wrote. “He fell out of the car window on Interstate 95 around West Greenwich. He is about 12 inches long.”
Cpl. Lawens Fevrier said the letter reminded him of his own young sons.
“I know how important it is for them to sleep with their blankets or stuffed animal,” he told WPRI-TV. “We were all 4 years old at one time in our lives.”
“We actually did send search and rescue out there,” he said. “Unfortunately, it was raining, and we just couldn’t find the one that he lost.”
Ketcher said she was shocked to see a package from the state police months later.
“The letter was never designed to be effective,” she said.
The package contained a new stuffed cheetah and a letter addressed to Will.
The letter read:
“On behalf of the Rhode Island State Police, we are so sorry that Roger was lost. We spent days looking for him on the highway. We couldn’t find him. We did find another cheetah walking around the highway. We stopped to talk to him. He said that he was looking for a new home in the Big Apple and we thought of you. Before we sent him to you we had to make him a Cheetah Trooper. The first cheetah trooper in the history of the Rhode Island State Police.”
Ketcher said her family was touched by the gesture.
“There’s so much negative stuff going on in the world, we’re inundated with it,” she said. “It’s so refreshing to have something like this happen that just reminds you that there are really good people out there.”
She said Will named his new cheetah Rhody in honor of the state police.