GILBERT, Ariz. — Since Brecken was born, it’s like he’s had a twin.
Wherever the 4-year-old goes, his stuffed teddy bear named CJ has followed.
“CJ is the third child that goes with us everywhere,” said Jason, Brecken’s father. “Road trips, anywhere, CJ goes.”
When Brecken sleeps, eats, or plays, his best friend CJ is by his side.
Brecken’s baby photos prove it. CJ was by his side as his parents documented his growth during his first months of life.
“It’s his baby,” Jason said. “When he first started talking and he said CJ, he would run and cry if he didn’t have him.”
On Saturday, that devastating feeling of not being with CJ lasted four days after a meal at a restaurant.
“We were on our way to Joe’s Farm Grill and somebody, I’m not going to say names, left him on top of the car and he may or may have not [fallen off the car],” Brecken’s father said, later admitting it was him.
Jason and his wife searched for hours, around the house and around their neighborhood, but CJ was gone.
Brecken’s mother took to social media and asked her neighbors to keep an eye out for CJ, and the Gilbert community united to find him.
“I was thinking you know, ‘we can find it, we can find it,” said Karli Cartmel who came across the Facebook post.
Cartmel said she had experienced a similar situation in the past and wanted to lend Brecken’s parents a hand by also searching for CJ.
“I saw the stuffed animal, the teddy bear in the middle of the road,” said Jason Nulph, who spotted CJ in the roadway near Power and Germann roads. “I slammed on the breaks and told my wife to put on the emergency blinkers and she said, ‘what are you doing?’ so I went out and got it and said, ‘it’s someone’s stuffed animal.”
Nulph took CJ home in hopes of finding its owner. He gave it a couple of washes, said CJ had been run over several times, oblivious of the community’s hunt that was in the works.
“I didn’t know anyone was searching for it,” Nulph added. “Someone messaged me and told me about the teddy bear that was missing and connected me with the family.”
Brecken was ecstatic to see his best friend again, after being separated for the first time ever, his father said.
“It’s not very often my heart melts, but it melted right then as soon as he saw his bear,” Jason said.
Days before CJ was found, several neighbors reached out to Brecken’s parents offering their help.
Cartmel going to great lengths to find another CJ on eBay and buy it for Brecken.
That new toy, which is scheduled to be delivered Dec. 2, will be the backup toy for any future incidents, Brecken’s parents said.
“I feel like anyone will do something for kids, and this just proves it,” Jason said.
In the simplest way, a community came together to do something big for someone so small.
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