Lost and found comfort toy tale of distraught China tourist in Spain melts hearts online

The heartwarming story of a man from China who lost and found his “toy child” companion while travelling in Spain has touched many people on mainland social media.

The 20-something man called his plush sloth toy “Bread” and referred to himself as the “Bread Village Mayor”.

Among other things, he celebrated the toy’s birthdays, placed it by his bedside every night, and regarded it as part of his family.

He lost it on June 9 when at the Sagrada Familia metro station in Barcelona.

It is suspected that a thief mistook the toy for a purse, believing it contained cash.

Following the theft, the devastated man altered his future travel plans, staying in Barcelona to search for his “baby” every day. He even posted a reward of 5,000 euros (US$5,400) for its return.

Online observers warned that the high reward might lead to extortion, prompting him to reduce it to 500 euros.

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The man considered his toy sloth “Bread” to be a member of his family and was distraught to lose the companion. Photo: Xiaohongshu

One helpful Xiaohongshu social media platform account holder posted the story in Spanish on the Barcelona Reddit community. However, most people dismissed it as a scam.

The local police also deemed the toy not significant enough to merit urgent attention.

“Many people might not understand, but Bread is more important to me than my job, my degree, or my possessions,” the tearful man said.

“I just really want to hug him again, no matter what it takes,” he added.

He had planned to take Bread to meet fellow sloths around the world.

Then the man’s troubles escalated when his passport was also stolen as his search continued.

As his Xiaohongshu post went viral, some people initially questioned his deep attachment to the toy, but their scepticism was quickly overshadowed by a wave of support.

A local Chinese auntie offered him accommodation, Chinese students helped him distribute flyers and brought him milk tea, and fellow Chinese recognised him on the street, encouraging him not to give up his search.

On the evening of June 15, he received a call from a Spanish metro station cleaner who saw the flyer inside the station and found the toy dumped in a gap between a ticket machine and a wall.

The next afternoon, the man was happily reunited with his toy.

Overwhelmed with gratitude, he embraced the cleaner while shedding tears of joy.

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As soon as the toy went missing, fliers were handed out across Barcelona in a bid to find it. Photo: Xiaohongshu

“I have never received so much kindness in my life. I am truly thankful,” he said.

He insisted on compensating the cleaner with 500 euros.

Online observers were touched by the story.

“I lost many beloved things in my childhood, and my parents discouraged me from spending too much effort getting them back. I learned not to get too attached,” said one online observer.

“I really envy people like you, who can truly invest in loving and caring for something. It shows your great capacity to love,” said another.

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