DAPHNE, Ala (WKRG) — People in the South, well they just love Publix. Employees at the Publix in Daphne just gave everyone even more reason to love them. And it all started with a lost bunny, which led to a harrowing journey, then an amazing reunion.
Jenna Rachal tells News 5 that her 3-year-old lost her stuffed bunny while they were shopping at the Publix in Daphne on Thursday. When little Madison realized her favorite bunny was gone the next day, she and her mom went back to the store. They asked employees to keep an eye out for the bunny. But no one knew at the time that bunny was already headed down a path paved with trash to a filthy fate, that the bunny would be crushed and buried in a pile of garbage.
But just like the movie, this “Toy Story” has a happy ending. It’s all thanks to those employees at Publix. Rachal posted a plea on Facebook asking for anyone who might have information leading to the return of Madison’s favorite toy. The post was shared more than 1,500 times. That post made its way back to that Publix, and to its manager, Mike Gayheart.
Gayheart and his employees decided they weren’t just going to let a little girl’s heart stay broken. So they set out to find her cute and fuzzy bunny. They started by checking the surveillance video. And there it was, a lonely bunny perched in a shopping cart. They watched as the bunny was carted towards a trash can and dumped. But that was just the start. The video showed the trash can emptied into a compactor, the compactor emptied into the dumpster, then later the dumpster being emptied into a garbage truck. Bunny had already been through so much and was on its way to meet its dirty destiny at the landfill.
Many would have given up right then, but not the crew from Publix. Gayheart assembled his team, loaded up and headed to the landfill. Madison’s mom tells the story from there:
So, Mike, the amazing manager at Publix in Daphne + 3 additional employees went to the landfill to dig for bunny and FOUND HIM! Mike took bunny home and washed him 3 times to get him nice and clean. Bunny still a stench but we are so happy he is home. Maddie has not let him go and she says he doesn’t stink I plan on calling Publix corporate to tell them and posting to news sites and radio sites to make sure everyone knows how awesome these ppl are. This is above and beyond and a true example of the good people in the world!
Madison and her mom couldn’t be more grateful, telling News 5 “These guys did not tell me they were going to the dump, I did not ask them to do that either. They got wind of the story told me they would track me on their cameras and then I got the call today that they went out and found bunny. Such kindness and above and beyond for their customers/community. Awesome people deserve to be recognized.”