Family reunited with teddy bear lost since FLL shooting

Posted at 7:31 PM, Jan 10, 2017

When the Fort Lauderdale Airport shooter opened fire, thousands of people dropped everything and ran for their lives.

Amidst the chaos, a little girl lost her favorite stuffed animal after the family ran to the tarmac in a panic.

Mom Kim Lariviere described fear at Terminal 2 and the panic that led her family to drop everything and run. 

“I got half way down the terminal and my daughter said mommy why are those people running,” said Lariviere.

People were scrambling trying to get away from the sounds of gunfire. 

“There were rumors there were many gunman running around,” Lariviere added.

Families dropped everything. Ten-year-old Courtney her teddy bear, Rufus. 

“She threw up all over the hotel room floor on Friday night due to stress,” said Lariviere. “After what we've been through she couldn't sleep.”

More than 20,000 lost items were left behind. Over the weekend, the family tweeted a picture to the Broward County Office to bring Rufus back to Courtney.

“I saw Rufus sitting on a table and I said that's the most famous bear in the area, we need to get him home,” said Greg Meyer, with the Broward County Aviation Department.

Airport staff found the bear amid thousands of lost items brought to a hangar, where they’re being  stored.  

“We’re going through them one piece at a time trying to put them back with their owners,” explained Meyer.

This afternoon, there was a reunion.

“It feels super good,” said Courtney, as she hugged Rufus for the first time since Friday. “He's like something that helps me sleep at night.”

The family is ever more grateful to be together for another day.

“It could have been anybody down there,” said Lariviere. “My respects and deepest sorrow and condolences and all of you and those families that aren't home.”

The family plans to return home to Ontario.

As for those missing items, the airport will be setting up a website where you can describe what you lost and hope crews can make a match. When it’s up and running we’ll let you know. 

In the meantime, call the airport at 866-435-9355 for information on how to retrieve your lost items.