IT WAS a happy ending for two-year-old Ava Ward and her favourite toy Piggy when they were reunited.
Ava and her mum Lauren Woolven, 25, from Selsey, went to Ikea in Southampton last month, and Ava took Piggy along.
But on the drive home, she realised she had lost her toy in the store.
“She was crying,” said Lauren. “I was ringing Ikea every day trying to get hold of them. She was really upset.
“He normally comes to quite a lot of places with us. He goes to nursery with her – it’s a comfort.”
She called Ikea to see if anyone had handed in the toy, but there was no sign of Piggy.
Ava was so upset about losing her favourite toy, Lauren decided to use social networking site Facebook, to start a campaign to find Piggy.
“I thought it would get the message out there in case someone had taken him home,” she said.
She shared a picture of Ava and Piggy on Facebook to her friends with a plea for anyone who might have seen the toy to get in touch.
As more and more people saw her message, it was eventually shared by 5,827 Facebook users, and seen by thousands more, including several Ikea employees.
Two of the staff made it their mission to find Piggy – and within two weeks the toy had been found.
“I think he was in one of those big baskets with all the soft toys in,” said Lauren.
“Someone must have recognised him from Facebook.”
It was not long before the staff got in touch with Lauren with the good news – but not before they had made Piggy an employee name badge.
Lauren went to the store to pick up Piggy, and she said Ava was ‘ecstatic’.
“Her face was just a picture,” said Lauren. “I said Piggy had a nice time working at the shop but he has come back to play with you.”
The story has since been shared on Ikea’s UK Facebook Page, which said: “For reuniting one lost little piggy and a heartbroken little girl, Southampton IKEA, we salute you.”