In a bottom drawer of a filing cabinet in a back room of Kaiser Permanente's San Mateo medical offices is where you will find the facility's lost and found.
It is filled these days with sunglasses and phone cases, but there is not a single stuffed animal inside. You can thank Robert Douglass for that.
Douglass, a manager in Kaiser's adult medicine department, went to great lengths recently to reunite a stuffed bunny discovered in the facility with a 2-year-old San Mateo boy named Nathan who had lost it.
"That was amazing and very touching to us," said Nathan's father, Tien Ho.
Douglass said the saga began in December when a woman approached the front security desk at the San Mateo complex carrying a small stuffed rabbit. She explained she had found it on the floor of one of the elevators.
Douglass knew immediately the find was too precious to end up out of sight in that drawer.
"When I looked at the bunny, I could tell by the matted fur it was a well-loved stuffie," Douglass said.
At first, Douglass prominently displayed the bunny behind the security desk hoping its owner would return. That didn't happen.
So, he created fliers and placed them all around the facility. Still, nothing.
"No call. So, the bunny sat down at the security desk for a couple of weeks," Douglass said.
And that is where the bunny might still be today except Douglass, a father of two himself, wouldn't let that happen.
"I started to think about my kids and how important their little stuffed animals were to them," Douglass said. "I felt like I needed to take the bunny and do some research to really try and get this little guy home."
With some assistance from other staff members at the facility, Douglass tracked down the contact information for the family of every child, ages 0-13, who had appointments in the building that day. Then, he started dialing.
"They were strange phone calls, right?" Douglass said. "'This is Robert from Kaiser San Mateo. This is a silly question, but did you lose a bunny?'"
Halfway through the list, Douglass hit pay dirt.
"We call him 'Bun Bun,'" said Honglian Yu, Nathan's mother.
She said Bun Bun was Nathan's constant companion. He slept with him during naps and at night. Ho said whenever Nathan would get nervous, like during a visit to the doctor, Bun Bun was a source of calm. Nathan was unsettled without him, his parents said.
"That night and many nights after he was looking around.
"'Where was my friend?'" Ho said.
After Douglass returned the lost friend to Nathan – in a basket along with a letter, blanket, book and new stuffed bunny – his parents shared photos of the reunion.
"You see him holding his bunny, kissing the back of his head. I lost it. I literally started to cry," Douglass said. "This is one of the best moments of my life."