It’s been 20 years, but Abe Wachsman still hopes he can reunite a family with its lost stuffed monkey. Wachsman said a young child left it in his car as they escaped New York City on 9/11. And he wants to return it.
On 9/11, Wachsman drove his 2001 black Lexus SUV into Manhatten’s financial district where he worked and began ferrying people to safety, he told Fox News. As the World Trade Centers burned, he loaded strangers into his car hoping to get them out of harm’s way. He spotted a young family north of Battery Park and pulled over so they could get in. Their toddler clutched a stuffed monkey as they climbed aboard.
The child left the monkey behind during the confusion and chaos of the day. Wachsman has kept it since, and he hopes he can return the doll to its rightful owner. His daughter started a social media effort to track down the family.
“The 20th anniversary [of the terrorist attacks] got me thinking about it more than I normally would,” his daughter Jessica Wachsman-Selznick told Fox. “I regret not having done it long ago.”
But he doesn’t know idea who the family is, or where they’re from. Wachsman remembers they were from out of town and staying in a hotel in Chelsea. He doesn’t know which one because even though he offered to drop them off at their hotel, they insisted he stay on FDR Drive to avoid traffic. They wanted him to get to his family as soon as possible.
“I wondered to myself at the time if there was possibly a way of getting this back to the owner,” he said. “I had grandchildren of my own. And the thought that a family and their young child would have come to New York on a pleasure trip to have encountered this, and then the child loses her or his toy. It tugged at my heartstrings.”
Do You Know This Stuffed Monkey?
Wachsman cared for the “9/11 monkey,” as he calls it, for two decades. That way, it would be in good condition when the owner finally claims it. He never considered getting rid of it.
“Parting with the monkey didn’t seem to be an option. Rather, I viewed myself as the monkey’s temporary custodian,” his daughter quotes him as saying in a Facebook post. “I had no rational conviction that I would ever meet the family again – they were, after all, from elsewhere, and the likelihood of an encounter was remote. Perhaps I thought on some level that there was a need to preserve innocence in the face of that day’s barbarous events … and how better to do it than guard a child’s toy.”
If you recognize this monkey, you can email the Wachsmans at [email protected].
“Even though this toddler would now be an adult,” Wachsman-Selznick wrote, “it would give my dad great pleasure (and I think, some closure) to reunite this monkey with its family.”