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Sad Story About Missing Hat Touches Many Hearts, Goes Viral

Bridget Hughes and her hat, before it went missing.
Bridget Hughes and her hat, before it went missing.

The major news stories of the day are pretty much the same as they've been all week: Budget talks continue in Washington; Egypt continues its slow, sometimes violent transition; fighting rages in Syria.

Let's start with a different story.

It's about another photo (like that of the New York City police officer who bought boots for a homeless man) that seems to be touching many hearts.

Tuesday, Bridget Hughes of Las Cruces, N.M., posted a picture and message on her Facebook page. Here's what she said:

"My name is Bridget Hughes and on Monday November 26 at around 12:30 a.m. I was at the B7 gate in Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport waiting to board U.S. Airlines flight 2918 to El Paso. My flight was cancelled. In all of the chaos that ensued me getting my new ticket and my hotel voucher I lost one of the most valuable things I own. It is a simple knit brown floppy hat from the Gap (pictured below).

"My mother passed away from Breast Cancer when I was 7. This is the hat she wore most often during her chemo treatments. My aunt gave it to me when I moved away after I graduated from college. It was one the only possession[s] of hers I could constantly carry with me. I checked the gate the next morning, the hotel, and my shuttle van. It was nowhere to be found. I've contacted the Phoenix Airport Lost and Found, but I doubt I'll hear back from them. So, I've turned it over to the power of social media, all for a hat that represents the fierce goofy independent spirit of a woman that is my mother. If anyone is willing to just share this status, I'll be really grateful."

That simple message and request for help has now been "liked" by nearly 19,000 people and shared by more than 120,000.

Hughes is grateful for the support:

"Hey everyone!," she wrote very early today. "Again, I appreciate your support. But I respectfully ask that you stop hounding Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. They are working hard and have contacted me several times. If the hat does not turn up, I will be sad, but my life will go on and I will have been put in contact with all of you and your stories. For the kindness that you've shown me, thank you. Let's also extend that and a little grace to the employees of the airport. I'm sure their jobs are not at all easy. We've gotten their attention. It's in God's hands."

The story will be even more touching, of course, if someone finds the hat.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

From 'Morning Edition'

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