Man on mission to find rightful owner of toy left behind by toddler on 9/11

NEW YORK (WABC) -- For more than 20 years, a man has held onto a stuffed animal he found during the panic and confusion surrounding 9/11.

When the tragedy struck, he was driving in the area at the time of the attack and helped people flee the area.

With all that was going on, a child left behind the comforting toy in his car, but the good Samaritan has never given up hope on one day reuniting the toy with its rightful owner.

"As I drove there were people behind me walking on the highway, it's just something you never seen," Queens resident Abe Wachsman said.

Wachsman was there during the terror attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. And 20 years later, he's determined to solve the mystery of the stuffed animal left behind.

"That monkey has reserved a place in every vehicle we've owned or lease since that day," he said.



It's small but has played a big part in the 73-year-old's life.

As Wachsman was trying to get out of Lower Manhattan he spotted a couple walking with their toddler -- also trying to leave the area. He picked them up, dropped them off, but never exchanged information.

Once he got home to Queens, he noticed the stuffed animal in the back seat that the child left behind.

For the last two decades, he kept the monkey in his car and never once took it in his home.

"The experience was searing enough, you want to preserve every element of it, bringing it into the house didn't seem to be the appropriate thing to do," Wachsman said.

Last month his daughter Jessica had an idea to find that family.

She posted a letter on social media. Wachsman believes they were tourists and that child would now be in their early 20s.

"If you have children they develop closer relationships with their stuffed animals than they do with people sometimes," Wachsman said.

There's another thing -- right now Wachsman is seriously ill, which is also why he'd love to make the connection.

"I don't know how much I've got, how long I have, but to the extent I can put some closure here that would be important," he said.

If you have any idea who and where this family is, please email getmonkeyhome@gmail.com.

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