A mother today praised London transport commissioner Sir Peter Hendy after he personally led the hunt to track down a toy bunny rabbit her daughter lost on a bus.
Alex Mannion, 36, said she was “so grateful” to Sir Peter for helping to reunite her four-year-old Mimi with the soft toy that she calls Bunny.
The Transport for London boss intervened after BBC London radio presenter Eddie Nestor broadcast Ms Mannion’s emailed appeal while he was in the studio for a regular phone-in.
Ms Mannion, a freelance illustrator from Vauxhall currently on maternity leave after giving birth to a son, Inigo, five weeks ago, was on either a 36 or 436 bus to take Mimi swimming during school half-term last Wednesday.
“Normally I check she has Bunny with her when she gets off the bus, but because I had the baby and a big bag I didn’t look,” she told the Standard. “After swimming we got home and Bunny wasn’t there.
“Mimi was distraught. We looked everywhere. I said if it’s on the bus, we’ll have to call lost property, but they were shut by that time. She said: ‘Mummy, we have got to get Bunny.’ I promised we would get Bunny back, which was a dangerous thing to do.”
A TfL spokeswoman said that Sir Peter, on hearing the appeal, immediately phoned colleagues at Go-Ahead, the bus company that operates the two routes. A call was put out on the bus radio network and Bunny was found. After spending the night at New Cross bus garage, he was driven to Vauxhall bus station to be reunited with Mimi last Thursday.
Ms Mannion said: “Sir Peter Hendy totally took the story to heart and took it upon himself to find Bunny. He got on the phone to all the big-wigs and they found it. I received an email an hour later telling me that Sir Peter Hendy had been the person to track Bunny down. Everybody realises how important a toy is to a kid.
“When I told her they had found Bunny she jumped up and ran around hysterically. She grabbed him and clutched him in a childlike way to her chest.
“I know the transport system creates problems for everybody all the time, but in this case they went out of their way to help us. Sir Peter Hendy was the saviour – he saved the day.”
It was not the first time that Bunny, which Mimi has had since birth, had gone missing. Ms Mannion previously found him in the road near Oval station, missing his eyes, tail and much of his stuffing, and had to sew him back together again.
“He is now banned from travelling,” she said. “He has had his passport revoked. I just can’t take her losing him again.”