There are downright crudtastic things that happen in this world and it’s so easy to lose faith in humanity… but then amazing things happen. Positive things – like what has happened with a little stuffed monkey, social media and Linn Area Credit Union.
Over 150,000 people were following this story on Facebook, asking for updates and rejoicing when the reunion happened. As well-covered as the glorious moment was, we know many of you are curious exactly how the whole thing went down. Here is a play-by-play, day-by-day (enjoy!):
Monday, July 1st
After an incredibly successful, super crowded Balloon Glow (an event we sponsor annually), the Linn Area Credit Union marketing team was running around the entrances to clean up around 10:00 pm. A couple approached us carrying a lost stuffed monkey.
As a parent of an almost two year old, my heart plummeted straight into the ground. I got almost choked up as I studied this little piece of fluff.
So obviously loved. So obviously cherished. So obviously going to crash and burn the world of some little child out there! (And, to be fair, I also thought about the nightmare some parent was going to have on his or her hands.)
“We are family” is more than just a tagline at Linn Area Credit Union. As parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents, friends, co-workers – we are an overall pushover for kids. Yep, they are our admitted kryptonite. Flash that sweet little mug around these-here parts and you’ll surely skip away with a sucker… or ten. With a crowd of over 17,000 people, we knew a reunion would be a challenge, but we were determined to do everything possible to help find this Monkey’s bestie.
Tuesday, July 2nd
First thing Tuesday morning, we posted a pic on on Linn Area’s Facebook page:
Figuring the parents would likely contact Brucemore and Freedom Festival, we posted the above on their Facebook pages as well (and contacted them personally to see if anyone had called). We added the same to local news pages.
Instantly, Monkey’s story started spreading like wildfire!
And our very favorite:
You even started to share stories of your own:
You guys blew us away with your commitment to helping Monkey find his bestie:
No strangers to having fun, we decided to take Monkey for a spin around the CU. He bopped into each department at our Blairs Ferry office to see what kind of monkey business he could find. Monkey business – something we’re never lacking in. ;o)
Our fraud specialist teaching the Monkey all about fake bills.
Helping to run the joint while the President is on vacay. What’s that you say – we all get raises?!?! HOORAY!
*sigh* Monkey finds the Xerox machine.
Now THIS is what I call monkey business!
There are many others, just click here to see the full set. To our surprise, people LOVED the pics and began sharing those as well!
By the next morning, the original post had been shared 1,083 times and reached at least a whopping 54,000 people! This was all because big-hearted people like YOU shared the pic!
Thursday, July 4th
The Fourth of July arrived and, to be honest, we were shocked that Monkey hadn’t been reunited with his bestie yet. He had gotten into SO much monkeying around on Tuesday that I wasn’t sure he could be trusted in a financial institution all alone, so he got to take a road trip to my house. ;o) So many people had been asking if Bestie had been found and though we responded individually, we thought it might be time for an update. Linn Area always like to remind our members when we’ll be closed, so we thought we’d do the whole “two birds, one stone” thing:
Saturday, July 6th
No word. The buzz was all over Facebook, but Monkey was still in Linn Area’s care. We started to get nervous. What would our next step be? Would we adopt Monkey as our social media mascot? We were growing quite attached to the the little bugger. But YOU guys – you kept sharing Monkey’s story! YOU kept the hope alive!
Sunday, July 7th… 12:20am
At 12:20am, this was posted under the original Monkey post:
I started screaming with joy! We did it! We actually did it! I was ecstatic that Monkey was finally going to be able to go home and couldn’t wait to get the full story. How was I ever going to wait until the next morning to get the rest of the story? Turned out, I wouldn’t have to!
Wow – so that’s how we learned that Monkey is actually a “she” not a he and HER real name is Kathy! The pink shirt made a whole lot more sense now. ;o) Kathy’s bestie is a little 3 year old, Eli.
Because we knew so many people were following Kathy’s adventures with Linn Area and hoping that she would find her bestie, we knew it was time for an update – the best update EVER, in our humble opinion:
The next morning, the following post popped up:
That afternoon, Vicki and I connected. She was delightful! One of those people that you like so much that you can imagine yourself hanging out with her. We finally began comparing notes on what happened… let’s start with the back story. :o)
Vicki is the mom to 5 year old Aria and 3 year old Eli. She is originally from England, which is where most of her family lives. When Aria was born, she was given a little stuffed monkey, lovingly named Charlie after Vicki’s dad in England. When Eli was born, he also received a stuffed monkey that they decided to name Kathy after – you guessed it – his grandma in England. Kathy and Charlie the Monkeys are married. *insert a collective “Aww” here* The monkeys help the little kids feel just a little bit closer to the overseas grandparents.
So, how did Kathy get lost??? Why did it take so long to find her??
Vicki had a house full of family members visiting, including many from England. You know that goes – no one is sleeping in their regular room, everything is everywhere, and you’re really just focused on enjoying each other’s company! The whole gaggle had gone to Balloon Glow (Kathy and Charlie have actually been to many of them!). Eli fell asleep, so part of the family decided to head home. It as during that hustle and bustle that Kathy must have slipped away.
In the following days, Eli asked where Kathy was, but with a house full of guests, many who were kids with stuffed animals of their own, they figured she would pop up sooner or later. When Vicki’s family left on that Saturday, they turned the house upside-down. No Kathy. That’s when it hit Vicki that Kathy wasn’t in the house. Kathy was lost.
Even though it was very late on Saturday night, Vicki took to Facebook to see if anyone could help out. She posted a picture of her kids with their monkeys saying, “Attention Facebook friends: Kathy my monkey has gone A-wall! Last seen at Balloon Glow!”
And this is where a tiny miracle happened.
In less than 2 minutes, she received a PHONE CALL from a good friend who had seen both Vicki’s post and Linn Area’s ongoing posts. “Are you serious?!?!! Have you not seen this yet?!?!?! Linn Area Credit Union is trying to reunite them!”
Vicki made a beeline to our page and saw firsthand what fun we had been having with Kathy. :) She thought the whole thing was hilarious and couldn’t stop laughing! (Boy are we glad Vicki had such a great humor bout the whole thing.) Eli was very excited to get Kathy back home. We decided to set the reunion for the next morning at our Blairs Ferry branch.
Monday, July 8th
It was the day of the reunion!!! We were so beyond excited! Because so many people had been a part of sharing the story, we wanted to make sure we had plenty of pics and video of the reunion. Even KGAN (Channel 2) wanted to come and capture the moment. But first we had to say goodbye to Kathy, Linn Area-style:
While the tribute was really our way to bringing some closure to the adventure, we are certainly glad you guys got a kick out of it, too (because you all are awesome):
Gosh, we had the best week ever with Kathy, but couldn’t wait to meet her bestie, Eli.
We hid Kathy behind our reception desk, so that we could capture Eli’s priceless face when he was reunited with her. And, no worries, we captured the whole thing on video for you guys:
We took a ton of pictures, too. How could we not with the cutest family EVER in our presence?!?! (Go here to see them all.)
You’ll notice in the video and pics that this amazingly thoughtful family brought Linn Area Credit Union some gifts as a (completely unnecessary!!!) thank you. “To Kathy’s Keepers” – as they put it. A gorgeous picture of Aria, Eli, Charlie and Kathy, an Andy Warhol-style piece of framed artwork featuring Kathy, and then some stickers, Pictionary, and mustache glasses. This last part was to play to our “funny” side!
KGAN did an awesome job summarizing Kathy’s adventure. Click here to watch their fabulously done news story! Some of the most touching comments came on their Facebook page:
Other news outlets quickly followed suit. The Gazette wrote up a lovely story about Kathy’s adventures with Linn Area. (Read it here.) We were even featured in the Credit Union Times! (That can be found right here!) Wow!
But nothing compares to the comments that you guys left us. Here’s one that really hit us in the ticker:
While Kathy’s visit brought us a ridiculous amount of laughter and joy, this – ALL of this – is just who we are at Linn Area Credit Union. We didn’t do it because they were members or not members (they aren’t… yet! LOL!). “We are family” is our motto – and we live by it. While this story caught fire, we do things like this all the time for our members and others in our community. They are just usually a little, um, quieter. ;o)
Thank you to everyone who followed this story, especially those of you who helped share Kathy’s search for her bestie. It was because of YOU that Eli and Kathy were reunited. Your friends at Linn Area Credit just feel lucky to have been a part of such a heart-warming story with this storybook ending.
What a tale Eli will be telling for years and years to come!