Social media reunites boy with his ‘bestie’

Stuffed monkey went viral on Facebook last week after she was accidentally left at Brucemore

March 29, 2014 | 4:57 am

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The saying is “Monkey see, monkey do.”

And Kathy the monkey sure did do a lot last week.

A photo of the stuffed animal went viral on Facebook last week after she was discovered at Brucemore after Balloon Glow on July 1.

“We were cleaning up from Balloon Glow and, as we were leaving, someone saw a stuffed monkey on the ground,” says Tara Bross, marketing specialist for Linn Area Credit Union.

Bross took temporary custody of the monkey, posting a picture of her on the credit union’s Facebook page last Tuesday with a plea to help her reconnect with her “bestie.”

“We’ve all been in that position where a child has something that is so special to them,” she says. “My daughter is 2 and if she ever lost her blankey … We knew we had to try to reunite monkey with her owner.”

Bross was hopeful that people would see the photo and share it on Facebook, but says she never imagined the response Kathy’s picture received.

Within four hours of posting the photo, it had been shared 514 times and seen by 19,200 people. By Wednesday, those figures increased to 1,083 shares and views by nearly 54,000 people.

“I thought it would get shared a little bit because of how people feel about these stuffed animals, but I was floored,” Bross says.

Kathy didn’t remain idle at Linn Area Credit Union. As her photo circulated on Facebook, Kathy moved from department to department at the credit union’s northeast branch on Blairs Ferry Road. A Facebook album titled “Monkey Business” documents Kathy’s activities, including her work in the information technology staff, reading up on small business lending and “monkeying” around on the office photocopier.

“We’re all about family at Linn Area Credit Union,” Bross says. “Ultimately, we want to do what’s best for our members, for our family. That’s what this was about.”

And it worked. Bross found out on July 6 that Kathy’s owner was 3-year-old Eli Meyer-Fernandez of Cedar Rapids. On Monday, boy and monkey were finally reunited.

“He was elated,” Eli’s mother, Victoria Fernandez, says.

Kathy the monkey is named after Eli’s grandmother, who lives in England. His older sister also has a stuffed monkey. He is named Charlie, after their grandfather.

“A stuffed animal like that, it’s a little piece of your childhood that you take with you," said Fernandez. "I’m grateful they recognized that this monkey means the world to someone and that they took such great care of it.”

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