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Grocery employees dig through landfill to find adorable girl’s lost bunny

DAPHNE, Ala (WKRG) — People in the south, well they just love Publix. Employees at the Publix in Daphne just gave everyone even more reason to love them. And it all started with a lost bunny, which led to a harrowing journey, then an amazing reunion.

Jenna Rachal tells news 5 that her 3-year-old lost her stuffed bunny while they were shopping at the Publix in Daphne on Thursday. When little Madison realized her favorite bunny was gone the next day, she and her mom went back to the store. They asked employees to keep an eye out for the bunny. But no one knew at the time that bunny was already headed down a path paved with trash to a filthy fate, that the bunny would be crushed and buried in a pile of garbage. 

But just like the movie, this “Toy Story”  has a happy ending. It’s all thanks to those employees at Publix. Rachal posted a plea on Facebook asking for anyone who might have information leading to the return of Madison’s favorite toy. The post was shared more than 1,500 times. That post made its way back to that Publix, and to its manager, Mike Gayheart. 

Gayheart and his employees decided they weren’t just going to let a little girl’s heart stay broken. So they set out to find her cute and fuzzy bunny. They started by checking the surveillance video. And there it was, a lonely bunny perched in a shopping cart. They watched as the bunny was carted towards a trash can and dumped. But that was just the start. The video showed the trash can emptied in to a compactor, the compactor emptied into the dumpster, then later the dumpster being emptied into a garbage truck. Bunny had already been through so much and was on its way to meet its dirty destiny at the landfill. 

Many would have given up right then, but not the crew from Publix. Gayheart assembled his team, loaded up and headed to the landfill. Madison’s mom tells the story from there: 

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 So, Mike, the amazing manager at Publix in Daphne + 3 additional employees went to the landfill to dig for bunny and FOUND HIM! Mike took bunny home and washed him 3 times to get him nice and clean. Bunny still a stench but we are so happy he is home. Maddie has not let him go and she says he doesn’t stink I plan on calling Publix corporate to tell them and posting to news sites and radio sites to make sure everyone knows how awesome these ppl are. This is above and beyond and a true example of the good people in the world!

Madison and her mom couldn’t be more grateful, telling News 5 “These guys did not tell me they were going to the dump, I did not ask them to do that either. They got wind of the story told me they would track me on their cameras and then I got the call today that they went out and found bunny. Such kindness and above and beyond for their customers/community. Awesome people deserve to be recognized.”

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Colder and quiet rest of the week

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – A good 20° swing Wednesday morning with temperatures in the lower to mid 20s this morning with feel-like temperatures in the teens. it will be a clear start then brighter heading through the rest of the morning and the afternoon! Sunshine won’t help us out too much in terms of temperatures today. Daytime highs should warm to the upper 30s. Wednesday night will be a cold one with lows in the lower 20s with a partly cloudy sky.

Thursday will be another cold one with highs struggling to reach 30°. It’ll still be a bright one with a mostly to partly sunny sky. A slow warming trend will start Friday with highs warming to the upper 30s with a mixture of sun and clouds.

This weekend will be split with a chance of showers arriving late in the day Sunday. Highs will continue to warm to the mid-40s Saturday with a partly sunny sky. Clouds return Sunday with showers later in the evening and overnight. Rain will continue through Monday. Tuesday looks to be a dry day for now then showers should return by midweek with highs in the mid 40s.

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