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A boy left his Buzz

Lightyear inside a

plane. A

ramp agent

made it his mission to

reunite them.

Hagen Davis, 2, reuniting with his beloved

Buzz Lightyear action figure, which he accidentally left in an airplane. A

Southwest Airlines ramp agent returned it to him, along with photos and a

handwritten letter detailing Buzz’s mission while he was away. (Ashley Davis)

By Sydney Page

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From the back seat of a rental car, a concerned 2-year-old boy

repeatedly asked his parents the same question: “Where’s Buzz?”

Ashley Davis

frantically

sifted

through the family’s luggage in search

of her son

Hagen

’s beloved Buzz Lightyear action figure. It was

nowhere to be found. Hagen was

distraught

.

“To Hagen, it was the end of the world,” Davis, 31, said. “He wanted

his Buzz. He is super-

attached

.”

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It was Jan. 30, and the family of three had just traveled from

Sacramento

to

Dallas

, after booking a

last-minute

flight to attend a

funeral.

“My husband’s uncle passed away very suddenly. It was all very fast,”

said Davis, who was seven months pregnant at the time.

She calmly explained to her son that Buzz was on a “special mission”

and would return to him shortly. In other words, she was planning

to purchase a replacement toy at a nearby

Target store

.

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Little did Davis know, though, that Buzz was, in fact, on a special mission, and

would soon be back.

Jason William Hamm

, a Southwest Airlines ramp agent at the Clinton

National Airport in

Little Rock, Ark.

,

spearheaded

an elaborate effort to return

Buzz to his rightful owner.

He

commenced

the reunion mission after

Beth Buchanan

, an operations agent

at Southwest Airlines, discovered the toy in the aircraft, which had landed in

Little Rock after departing from Dallas.

“It was the last flight of the night, and we always have to go through and make

sure people don’t leave anything,” Buchanan, 56, said. “They always do.”

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Little Rock is the capital and most populous

city of the U.S. state of Arkansas.

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While sweeping through the

cabin

, she spotted the action figure and

noticed the name “

Hagen

” inscribed on the bottom of Buzz’s boot in

permanent marker —

a nod to “Toy Story,”

since Andy writes his own name

on the sole of his toys’ shoes. Rather than tossing the stranded doll in the

airline’s

lost-and-found bin

, she decided to look through the passenger list.

“I was thinking about how this little boy is missing his little buddy,”

Buchanan said.

To mimic “Toy Story,” Hagen’s dad wrote his name on Buzz’s boot. He’s glad he did, since it’s the only reason the Southwest Airline employees managed to track down the little boy.

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Hamm, 47, got involved in the search when he saw the toy sitting on

his colleague’s desk. After

cross-referencing

the passenger list with

the name on the boot, they confirmed Buzz belonged to a 2-year-old

boy from

Elk Grove, Calif.

“Once we realized there was somebody connected to this toy, I

thought, I got to get it back to him somehow,” said Hamm.

Once they tracked down Hagen’s information, Hamm sent an email

to the family to let them know he located Buzz and wanted to return

him, asking for the best address to ship the toy to.

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While waiting for a response, Hamm, who has worked at Southwest

Airlines for 10 years, got creative. He enjoys

aviation photography

and

decided if he was going to convince this little boy that Buzz was truly

on a mission, he would need photo evidence.

Jason William Hamm, a Southwest Airlines ramp agent, took photos of Buzz on the tarmac and around the plane in an effort to chronicle the action figure’s adventure for Hagen. (Jason William Hamm)

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He took the action figure to the tarmac to

snap

some pictures in various locations. He

positioned Buzz in front of an airplane, an

engine and, obviously, a

cockpit

.

And he didn’t stop there.

“I thought it would be kind of cool to add a little

letter to make it look like Buzz was on a

mission,” Hamm said. “I thought it would be a

cute

keepsake

.”

Of course, Hamm took photos of Buzz posing proudly in the cockpit. (Jason William Hamm)

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In a space ranger-esque font, Hamm hand-wrote a letter to Hagen, complete with a Buzz Lightyear logo. “To Commander Hagen,” the letter reads. “I am very excited to return to you upon completing my

mission. I was able to explore the airport and

spaceport in Little Rock, Arkansas while I was away, and I have included photos of my adventure. My

journey has taught me a lot but I am so thankful to return to my buddy.”

He signed the note: “To infinity and beyond! Your buddy, Buzz Lightyear.”

Hamm wrote Hagen a letter

detailing Buzz’s mission in Arkansas. (Ashley Davis)

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Once Hamm heard back from the Davis family — who said they were stunned to

receive the initial email that Buzz had been located — he put together a special package for Hagen.

Hamm printed out the photos he took, bubble-wrapped Buzz, and tucked in the handwritten letter. Then he decorated the exterior of the cardboard box with a

drawing of Buzz Lightyear, stars and planets, as well as classic “Toy Story” sayings, like “Not today, Zurg!” and, of course, “To infinity and beyond!”

Hamm decorated the exterior of the package with colorful drawings of Buzz Lightyear, planets and stars, plus classic “Toy Story” lines. (Ashley Davis)

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“I wanted it to be a beautiful experience

when he opened it up,” Hamm said. “I

just thought he would love it. I had no

idea who he was, but I knew somebody

was missing Buzz, and was probably

really sad.”

Plus, “it was such a boring box. Why not

make it cool looking?” he added. “I was

smiling the whole time I was drawing. I

had a

blast

.”

Inside the package, Hamm included

printed copies of several photos he had taken of Buzz on the tarmac and inside the aircraft. (Ashley Davis)

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For Hamm, his own parenting experiences

propelled

him to “go the extra mile,” he said.

“I have an

autistic

son, and he gets attached to toys.

If he loses a toy, I know how hard it is for him,”

said Hamm, who has two children, aged 16 and 12.

“It’s the dad in me, I guess you could say,” he

added.

Hamm sent the package

at his own expense

and

tracked the parcel until it finally arrived on

Hagen’s doorstep at the end of February.

Jason William Hamm, 47, has worked at Southwest Airlines for 10 years. (Jason

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Upon opening the package, Davis was speechless, she said. While she was relieved that Buzz was back, she did not anticipate he would return in a decorated box, complete with a handwritten note and printed photos.

“I cried when I opened it,” she said. “You could see all the love he put into it.” Once the tears subsided, Davis smiled, she said, thinking of all the people who got a kick out of the Buzz-themed package.

“I wonder how many people chuckled when they saw the box with Buzz on it, as it made its way to infinity and beyond, from Arkansas all the way to

California,” she said.

Hagen was thrilled, too. His excitement was caught on camera, and the couple sent a video of his reaction to Hamm.

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“Thank you, Jason,” Hagen said,

clinging

eagerly to his newly returned toy.

Seeing the boy’s smile, Hamm said, made it all worth it.

“When they sent the video, that made me

tear up

. How can you not love that?”

he said.

Davis said she plans to keep the box, the card and photos in a special place for

Hagen, so he can always remember the kindness a stranger showed him.

“For Jason to go above and beyond for someone he did not know, and to take

that much time and effort, it’s just incredible,” she said.

Now that Hagen is reunited with Buzz, he will not let him out of his sight, his mother said. (Ashley Davis)

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