Judah and Noah Gossett love their "Daddy dolls" -- customized toys featuring the smiling face of their military father.
The boys' dad is serving in Afghanistan on his fifth tour overseas, and the dolls provide comfort while their father is away.
So when the Judah Gossett lost his prized possession on Tuesday in a Manalapan, N.J., Target, his mother, Raynalin Gossett panicked.
"He sleeps with it, always wants it, carries it where we go," she told NBC 4.
Luckily, Michelle McHugh found the doll, brought it to customer service, posted a photo of it to Facebook and let a miracle happen.
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"Can everyone please share this picture?" McHugh wrote on Tuesday. "I found this little military buddy doll left in a cart at Manalapan Target on Rte. 9. It has the picture of someone's dad and there must be a very upset little kid somewhere! I left it with Target customer service."
By that night, more than 3,000 people shared the photo. And on Wednesday afternoon, Raynalin Gossett saw the post.
"Thank you Michelle for finding my son's doll! We franticly went back to get him when we realized!" Gossett wrote. "My son is obsessed with it!!! Would love to take you to lunch sometime soon!"
The photo continued to be shared.
"The waterfall of care I have seen in the past 24 hours of strangers through social media is just overwhelming," Gossett wrote in a later comment. "What a great country."
Though Judah Gossett and his doll have been reunited, the photo has continued to spread across Facebook. By Friday night it had received more than 26,000 shares.
The boys' father may not be home yet, but having their dolls helps deal with the distance.
H/T NY Daily News
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In an attempt to make a memorable entrance, a sailor -- who's been away from home for more than eight months -- decided to sneak into a family picture at his grandma's 76th birthday celebration, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/27/sailor-surprises-grandmother-birthday-celebration-video_n_1383183.html" target="_hplink">The Huffington Post reports. </a> Wrapping her arms around him, the sailor's grandmother yelled in excitement at the sight of her grandson.
Last October, Staff Sergeant Chris Reed -- armed with a trays full of fast food -- <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/28/soldier-surprises-wife-chick-fil-a_n_1064431.html" target="_hplink">surprised his wife,</a> Amy, at a Chick-fil-A restaurant in Eustis, Fla. "It started off with her just screaming and her shedding tears. Then everyone started shedding tears. There wasn't a dry eye in the place," Chick-fil-A's Kevin O'Leary<a href="http://www.wesh.com/r/29594797/detail.html#ixzz1c6woi2k8" target="_hplink"> told WESH.com.</a>
After being deployed in Kuwait and Iraq for a year, Specialist Matthew Peters from Owensville, Mo., popped into the cafeteria of Washington West Elementary School to give his son, Blake, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/09/22/military-surprise-homecom_n_974780.html" target="_hplink">a long overdue hug. </a> Peters had told Blake, who dissolved into tears at the sight of his father, that he'd be home 10 days later than when he actually showed up.
On an episode of <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WEDV8nu3tf8" target="_hplink">TLC's "Surprise Homecoming",</a> Sgt. Lawrence Lee sings his way back into the hearts of his two children.
In March, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/29/military-father-surprises-daughter-on-stage_n_1389434.html" target="_hplink">The Huffington Post</a> reported that father-of-three MSG Joseph Devine (U.S. Army) returned from Afghanistan after spending a year in Afghanistan. Devine decided to surprise his 18-year-old daughter on stage at her high school after she delivered a speech as captain of her speech team. "She is daddy's only little girl, always will be, and boy did it show," <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/29/military-father-surprises-daughter-on-stage_n_1389434.html" target="_hplink">said Devine's wife, Kathryn.</a>
Last December, Capt. Dawn McCracken-Bruce reunited with her young sons just in time for Christmas, <a href="http://abcnews.go.com/WNT/video/iraq-war-mom-surprises-sons-mall-15225161" target="_hplink">ABC News reports.</a> The soldier mom surprised her two children at the mall.
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A 6-year-old boy with cerebral palsy gave his soldier dad a very special homecoming when he walked into his father's open arms, <a href="http://www.rightthisminute.com/video/Marine-RTM-son-walks-first-time-Jeremy-Michael-Cooney" target="_hplink">RightThisMinute.com reports.</a> Marine Staff Sgt. Jeremy Cooney, 31, had been told that his son would never be able to walk. However, during the seven months that Cooney was away, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/10/jeremy-cooney-us-marine-son-cerebral-palsy_n_1507423.html" target="_hplink">his son learned to walk on his own.</a> Cooney's wife Melissa kept her son's progress a secret for the duration of her husband's deployment so that when he finally returned home, he would be welcomed with the gift of a lifetime.