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On December 10, 1994, there was an article in The New York Times about how Ms. Dollinger’s second-grade class from the Dalton School let Fudge, their class bear, out into the world, to be taken on a journey by strangers.

His journey started on October 18th when the children left Fudge in a food shop – with a note and a journal. They asked that he be taken around to see the sights of New York and that his adventures be written down. They also wrote that they would like him to be left with responsible people.  Lastly, they asked that Fudge be returned by the first week in December.

Some of the children worried that they’d never see him again. One girl named Jessie said, “I was worried that somebody who had him would not be very careful and would let him get very wet.”

I would have worried about Fudge, too. That was a long time to entrust strangers to the care of a beloved bear. How would the children fare if he wasn’t returned? What if he was returned, but with a missing limb – or worse?

Someone, however, did return Fudge to the Dalton school one December afternoon. According to The Times article, each of the children hugged him. I can’t even imagine how happy and amazed they must have been that he made it back safely, all in one piece.

Ms. Dollinger read Fudge’s journal to the class. It turned out that fifteen people had taken him to their homes, in different parts of the city.  Fudge visited the Chrysler Building with a woman who took him there on her bike. He saw the show “Stomp.” He went on a plane to Washington, and to St. Louis, with people in the publishing business. He also visited a classroom with children that had emotional difficulties and became their friend.

In supposed cold, impersonal New York City, various strangers willingly took care of a two-foot-tall stuffed bear and wrote about their experiences. Then they entrusted other strangers to show him more of their city. Just think about it, and let it into your heart – what fifteen people took it upon themselves to do for a class of second graders they would never meet.