When the US Transportation Security Administration shared a heartbreaking image of Brodie the teddy bear on their Instagram saying that he was too big to be taken on board a flight, it pulled at the heartstrings of many. The image of the forlorn nine-foot bear sitting on the floor against a bin at Los Angeles International Airport prompted the hashtag #letbrodiefly. Many believed that the over-sized bear had been parted from a distraught child.
The truth was less heartbreaking. It transpired that YouTuber Jake Paul tried and failed to bring the bear on board his flight to New York. He had bought Brodie a seat, and videoed the reactions of the airport ground staff when they said no to him being brought on board. Jake Paul left Brodie behind and boarded his flight, and subsequently made a 13-minute-long video of the incident to share with his over 972,000 subscribers.
A TSA spokeswoman said Brodie is currently in the custody of airport police, as he was too big to fit through the security screening machine. Delta offered Jake a refund for Brodie’s plane ticket, even though he had declined to accept their offer to check him on as luggage. It is currently unclear whether the pair will be reunited in the immediate future.