Five years after it was stolen from the yard of a home in the Hamptons and taken on an epic journey around the world, a large rubber duck has finally been returned to its rightful owners, although the mystery of who abducted it in the first place remains a mystery.
The large, yellow rubber duck came to the Troiano family about 10 years ago, when their daughter Alicia received as a gift from a neighbor for whom she babysat. She name it Baldie and enjoyed putting it in a makeshift pond that filled up on rainy days, as a lawn decoration. One day, five years ago, Baldie mysteriously disappeared, but the Troioanos didn’t think too much of it. At least not until a few months later when they received a postcard supposedly written by the ducky, postmarked from Kuwait City. In it, the rubber duck told the family of her travels to Amsterdam , Honduras and various other locations around the Middle East, instructing them to follow its travels on a Facebook page called “Gale Ducky”.
For the next five years, the Troiano family kept receiving updates about the rubber duck’s adventures and its epic globetrotting. Photos on her very own Facebook page show Gale Ducky hanging out in various parts of the world, including the Caribbean, Mexico, South Korea, Hawaii, Zimbabwe, Iceland, Panama, a number of European countries and even some U.S. cities. But it wasn’t only the Troiano family who was interested in the duck’s global exploits. Local news outlets also followed its travels, as did 600 fans of its Facebook page.
But after visiting about 20 different countries around the globe, Gale Ducky finally returned home this month. Jennifer Troiano had woken up early one day to check her email and get ready for a morning bike ride, when she saw an update in her Facebook feed from Gale Ducky. This latest photo showed the yellow toy sitting on a curbside with a suitcase. “I looked at the picture and I said, ‘That’s my sidewalk,'” the woman recalls. “‘Wait a minute, she’s home! She’s in the driveway!'” As she walked outside, she could see the rubber duck waiting for her with a suitcase in front of their garage.
The luggage contained mostly maps from various places the duck had visited, but there were a few special items as well, including a friendship bracelet, a pair of giant sunglasses and a Disneyland hat. There were also a bunch of train tickets, travel brochures and even Gale Ducky business cards with the message “Follow me on Facebook” on the back. Whoever was behind this mysterious project, had clearly put a lot of effort into it. Sadly, the identity of the ab-duck-tor that remains a mystery.
Although she spent a lot of time looking for clues about who might be behind Gale Ducky’s adventures, Jennifer Troiano hasn’t come up with an answer. Her best guess is that the culprit is a pilot, since one of the Facebook photos shows the cute toy in the cockpit of an airplane with a pilot and co-pilot. “I have so many questions,” Alicia Troiano said. “I want to know why they were inspired to pick him up out of his pond and bring around the world, especially since he is not a very small or portable duck.”
While others might be unnerved by a trespassing stranger taking their property and sending them pictures of it from around the world, the Troianos have never had such problems. In fact, they’re are kind of sad that the adventure has come to an end. “I will miss seeing the funny pictures that pop up on Facebook and waiting to find out his next destination.” They could take Gale Ducky/Baldie on new adventures, as they do quite a bit of traveling themselves, but they says it just wouldn’t be the same.
Photos: Gale Ducky/Facebook