What would you do if you found a stuffed animal in the middle of the street? Some of us would keep walking or driving past it, not thinking anything of it. But one local man stopped and took a second glance at a stuffed hippo lying in the middle of a Willoughby street.
Petar Luketina, who is a returned Peace Corps volunteer and is now teaching in Maple Heights, was on his way to Fiona's Coffee Bar and Bakery in downtown Willoughby when he spotted something strange at the intersection of Ridge Road and Oakdale Avenue.
"I drove past it and thought how it could have belonged to a child. I immediately turned around and parked my car to the side with my hazards on," said Luketina.
It was a stuffed hippo that belonged to someone.
After leaving it on the sidewalk for almost four hours in the hopes of someone claiming it, he took it home covered in mud and filth, and washed it, hoping someone claimed it as their own.
"We've all had the sadness of losing something precious to us, and I didn't want anyone especially a child, to feel like that," he said.
He posted pics of the lost stuffed animal on Facebook, and his post took off. It now has over 5,000 shares. Said Luketina, "I know it seems minuscule to us, but to a child, it can mean the world."
After thousands of shares and conversation on social media, the hippo was reunited with its owner, a 22-year-old woman who didn't realize the hippo had fallen out of the car when she rolled down the window.
She named him "Poe" because when she says "Hi Poe" it sounds like hippo. She bought Poe while she was in and out of the hospital for two years.