A Moree boy has been reunited with his beloved Godzilla toy thanks to the help of strangers from all over the world after a desperate plea on Twitter went viral.
Seven-year-old Fred Hughes devastatingly lost his Godzilla toy on a Manly ferry during an outing with his grandparents in Sydney last Friday.
“Once they got off the ferry my father noticed Godzilla did not get off the ferry with them,” Fred’s mum Hollie Hughes said.
When the call came through from her father telling her he had an “inconsolable little boy”, Mrs Hughes and husband Stewart immediately took to Twitter in an attempt to find the toy.
The giant, two foot high, three foot long Godzilla toy isn’t just any old toy.
To Fred, who has autism, it is his whole world.
Fred is obsessed with Godzilla and for Christmas last year, he received the Godzilla toy – the result of a six-month global search by his parents.
“They aren’t just sitting on shelves, it’s quite difficult to locate one and locate one that ships to Australia,” Mrs Hughes said.
On Christmas Day, there was much excitement when Fred unwrapped the toy and from then on, Mrs Hughes said the pair were inseparable.
“It slept with him, went to school with him, he took it to school as news multiple times – it went everywhere,” she said.
“The night before it got lost, he put Godzilla to bed in his bed and he slept on the floor, ‘so Godzilla could have a good sleep’.”
Hence when Godzilla went missing, Fred was devastated.
Mrs Hughes said the family did their best to distract Fred with trips to the beach and new toys while the Twitter search for Godzilla was underway.
They talked about Godzilla’s adventure and told stories of him going to the bottom of the ocean and the Pacific Rim.
“I even tried a bit of Murphy’s law and ordered another one similar,” Mrs Hughes said.
As a result of the call-out on Twitter, Mrs Hughes was overwhelmed by the response from people all over the world.
Still missing! Despite media appearances & amazing water police & ferry staff effort. One desperate little boy wants his best mate home HELP https://t.co/go4oloYhKG— Hollie Hughes (@MoreeMum) March 10, 2017
Media personalities Richard Glover (host of ABC radio’s Drive program) and Ben Fordham (2GB’s Sydney Live host and Channel Nine presenter) reached out and discussed it on their programs.
The Godzilla Twitter account re-tweeted the post, calling on the help of Mike Doherty, the director of the Godzilla movies himself.
“The search for Godzilla went global,” Mrs Hughes said.
“I had families reaching out from Boston and all over the world.
“I had a lot of them were either autistic [or had a family member with autism] or Godzilla fans and some were a bit of both.
“It was just incredible.”
Mr Hughes contacted the water police who then conducted a water search, while someone else got in touch with the head of operations for Sydney Ferries to help out.
“It was incredible how many people pulled together,” Mrs Hughes said.
“It was just lovely that people understood the significane of what might seem like a silly object to a lot of people, but to a kid with autism, it’s reflective of his whole world.”
After a frantic weekend of searching, on Monday morning the Hughes’ finally got the news they’d been hoping for – Godzilla had been found.
As it turns out, someone had walked off the ferry with the Godzilla toy and handed it into lost property at the train station at Circular Quay.
It was just lovely that people understood the significane of what might seem like a silly object to a lot of people, but to a kid with autism, it’s reflective of his whole world.
After speaking with a man from Sydney Trains, the Hughes’ then arranged for Fred’s therapist, who luckily enough was heading back to Moree from Sydney on a train on Tuesday, to pick up Godzilla and bring it home with him.
“Fred was just beside himself,” Mrs Hughes said of the reunion.
“Godzilla went to school with him the next day.”
Mrs Hughes said it was the perfect outcome.
“It was just so lovely that a) it worked out well in the end and b) that people from around the world reached out,” she said.
“It was lovely to have all these people pull together for an autistic little boy, who understood how the loss of something like that can impact him.”