Southwest Employees Go To Infinity & Beyond To Reunite A Toddler And His Buzz Lightyear Toy

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Buzz Lightyear

After a long trip from Sacramento to Dallas, the Davis family were driving their rental car to an upcoming funeral. As they had their minds set on grieving, their son Hagen’s focus was elsewhere.

The 2-year-old boy was upset for a different reason, because he realized he'd left his good friend Buzz Lightyear at the airport. He just kept asking in the car, “Where’s Buzz?”

Thanks to the kind-hearted workers at Southwest Airlines, Buzz was able to make it back home from his “mission” and back into the hands of his trusted pal.

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How did Hagen and Buzz get separated?

Hagen’s father had recently lost his uncle and they were traveling to Dallas to attend the funeral. In the midst of this last-minute trip, everything was so rushed that no one noticed that Buzz Lightyear wasn’t safe in his backpack. 

“My husband’s uncle passed away very suddenly. It was all very fast,” Hagen’s mother, Ashley Davis said.

Davis, who was seven months pregnant at the time, tried to calm her son by explaining to him that Buzz was on a “special mission” and would be back in no time. Of course, she had no idea how they'd get him back, so she planned to buy a new Buzz Lightyear action figure at the store to replace the one they'd lost.

“To Hagen, it was the end of the world,” the 31-year-old mother said. “He wanted his Buzz. He is super-attached.”

Little did Davis know, Buzz really was on a “special mission” to find his way back home. He was in Clinton National Airport in Little Rock, Arkansas, and in safe hands.

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Who helped the lost Buzz Lightyear on his mission back home?

A ramp agent at the airport by the name of Jason William Hamm was the mastermind behind the mission to get Buzz home.

The action figure was first found by Beth Buchanan. She’s an operations agent who tends to go through the aircrafts to sweep for items. 

“It was the last flight of the night, and we always have to go through and make sure people don’t leave anything,” The 56-year-old said. “They always do.”

Instead of sticking Buzz with the other lost items, she decided to look up the name written under the shoe of the toy to see if it matched with any of the names on the passenger list. The name wasn’t Andy like in the movie “Toy Story,” it was Hagen!

While she discovered that the toy belonged to a boy from Elk Grove, California, Hamm found the family’s contact information and emailed them to let them know that Buzz was on his way back to them.

“Once we realized there was somebody connected to this toy, I thought, I got to get it back to him somehow,” the ramp agent said.

Hamm decided to take Buzz with him around the airport and take images of him on his “special mission.” He wanted it to appear convincing. He posed the action figure around the airport in places like the runway and even the inside of a cockpit.

He then hand-wrote a letter as if Buzz Lightyear had done so himself, to add to the narrative he'd created. The letter detailed Buzz’s missions and what he was up to while they were separated. He signed the letter off with: “To infinity and beyond! Your buddy, Buzz Lightyear.”

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What did all this mean to Hagen and the Davis family?

Hamm is the father of an autistic son, and he said he knew how much it meant for children to be attached to their toys and the impact they could have. 

I have an autistic son, and he gets attached to toys. If he loses a toy, I know how hard it is for him,” Hamm said. “It’s the dad in me, I guess you could say.”

Hagen’s mother was brought to tears when the decorated box arrived at their home. Although she was expecting the action figure, she did not expect the handwritten note inside the decked out cardboard box.

“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,” Davis said.

In the end, Buzz completed his mission. And although it must’ve been hard on Hagen, the story will live on forever in his memories thanks to the kind people of Southwest Airlines.

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Tomás Diniz Santos is a writer living in Orlando, Florida. He covers news, entertainment, and pop-culture topics.