By Joe McFarlane
A novelty giant red teddy bear – who began his travels by occupying its owner to social gatherings – has embarked on a trip of a lifetime.
Communications officer Amy Van Drunen, 26, from Kansas City, Missouri, US, was gifted the large bear by a friend as a joke.
But Amy quickly named the bear Alfred and she took him with her to work and any social event she could.
When Amy was sent to Jordan for a training course, she wanted to do some travelling and it only felt right that Alfred should join her also.
A hike to Petra – a famous archaeological site in the desert- can be difficult enough but carrying Alfred made the journey even harder.
But Amy said it was worth it for the reactions from strangers.
Amy said: “In May, a friend and I were joking about purchasing a teddy bear. A few days later, my doorbell rang and a giant red teddy bear was gifted to me.
“We named him Alfred. I brought Alfred to work, to the ice cream shop and any group activity that I could.
“Bringing Alfred to Petra started out as a joke, but as his origin story started in a similar manner, it seemed right. I was travelling to Jordan for training and took a week off to travel with my friend who has brought the teddy, Daniel.
“The reactions in Petra were my favourite. When we reached the ticket counter, everyone in the room sprang up and ushered Alfred inside to be the ticket counter attendant, the security guards were laughing as they patted him down, and the children went crazy.
“Many of the locals wanted Alfred to ride on their camels, their horse, or their donkey. As goofy as a giant red teddy bear is, it’s a source of joy for myself to see others smile from the absurdity of it all.”