Free-Range Kids

Man Gives Away Teddy Bears, Everybody Panics and Calls the Cops

You can't be too careful.


Teddy bear
Nyul / Dreamstime

A dad in Ostego, Michigan—population 3,956—terrified parents, police, and school administrators by handing out teddy bears to people he passed on the street, including children in the presence of adults. It was Ken Cronkhite's attempt to spread some happiness and help his 89-year-old father, the owner of an 800-teddy bear collection, to downsize.

And it backfired.

As news spread of a man, a plan, and his plush toys, the police department's phone lines lit up. Officers sped off to patrol the bus stops as at least one frantic mom ripped apart her kid's bear to see if it contained something insidious.

Meanwhile, the school district jumped into action, alerting parents with emergency phone calls and going on Facebook to warn of "a heavyset, older, white man handing out teddy bears to kids from his silver SUV."

"We have not been told that this man threatened anyone or tried to lure students to him, and adults have been present during two encounters," the letter said, "however, it raises a concern as we want to be sure our students are safe."

Hmm. A man who is not threatening kids, nor luring them, and only approaching the ones who are directly supervised by an adult? Yes, that sure is scary.

According to the Kalamazoo Gazette's, commenters on the Facebook post fretted that the bears could be filled with heroin syringes or hidden cameras. But when Cronkhite's teenage son read it, he realized: That's my dad!

Dad immediately called the cops to tell them: I'm your man.

Cronkhite said he is a veteran Marine and a retired Chicago police officer and had fun approaching shoppers with children in store parking lots, people jogging along the streets, and children gathered with adults at bus stops or picnic tables.

He said he made sure there was an adult accompanying any children he approached.

He said he started the direct giveaways after he had distributed bags of bears to Sylvia's Place shelter for battered women, and to the American Cancer Society in Kalamazoo. Some charities would not accept the stuffed animals because they were not brand new, he said.

So his elderly mother washed them all and his father told him to just give them to any takers in an attempt to spread some happiness, Cronkhite said.

But spreading happiness is a lot harder than spreading hysteria, Cronkhite learned.

When his father asked him to distribute the bears to children, it never occurred to him not to do it.

"It was really fun until this happened," said Cronkhite.

"This" being America 2016, when even the police chief says that parents are "rightly on alert for any contact between their children and adults they don't know."

Even when the kids are standing right next to their parents, the parents are "rightly" on alert. Because no one who isn't you should ever interact with your kids. After all, you never know when a man with a teddy bear might pull the syringe out of the bear's stuffing, shoot the parent full of heroin, and run off with the child.

Certainly Cronkhite has learned what it means to be male and friendly and a little offbeat: "I will never try to go out and try to do anything nice for anyone again," he said.

What a relief.

NEXT: Portland Cops Agree to Lose 48 Hour Waiting Period After Using Deadly Force in Exchange for 3 Percent Pay Raise

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  1. He forced the toys into people’s hands?

    1. Using Tricknology, yes.

  2. “a heavyset, older white man”

    Christ, if that’s the panic a heavyset, older white man inspires, I shudder to think what would happen if a young black man were giving them out.

    1. As soon as i turn fifty i am never leaving the house again.

      1. I’m sure we can secure a court order to just that effect.

        1. Hugh Akton is a useful especially idiot.

      2. Amen. I only have three more years to endure this societal shit before I get to live as a shut-in.

  3. a retired Chicago police officer

    Guilty as hell!

  4. In Hitler’s America, we would not imprison men who hand out teddy bears to children. We would simply have the Sturmabteilung humanely beat him before driving him outside the village to walk home in shame. Your tax dollars will never be wasted on such trivial affairs again. The jails will be reserved for the leftists.

    1. I have no clue who this new novelty account is but I like you

    2. Thanks Hit, if I remember correctly in your Germany however it was actually the Sturmabteilung that ended up in jail, or worse wasn’t it.

      Just goes to show you can never be sure.

      1. They didn’t end up in jail? the SA got cut.

  5. Because no one who isn’t you should ever interact with your kids.

    Exactly. This is why I won’t let my kids go anywhere near school teachers.

  6. Government crucified Jesus, too.

  7. After all, you never know when a man with a teddy bear might pull the syringe out of the bear’s stuffing, shoot the parent full of heroin, and run off with the child.

    Man, i hate when that happens.

  8. Was it a white guy? Then there’s no problem.

    1. The main thing is it was a guy.

      Idiot ex-cop. Should’ve had his wife hand them out.

      1. Or at least he should have dressed up like a creepy clown teddy bear.

  9. Much better to get your teddy bears from unknown foreign labor than from a person in your own neighborhood.

    Oh wait.…..index.html

  10. Satanic razorblades in the apples hidden in the teddy bears.

    IMPORTANT: only eat candy from sealed wrappers that you find hidden inside teddy bears handed out by strangers in your small town.

    1. You could just have the bears x-rayed.

      Is that still a thing, parents taking Halloween candy to an x-ray place? It was all the rage back in the ’80s!

      1. And expose my precious child’s food to dangerous radiation-toxins?

        I read The Food Babe, Mister, and I will not allow my child to eat anything that has been within a mile of wifi radiation let alone an x-ray machine. Just think about what radiation did to that poor Curie girl.

  11. We’re way past Idiocracy at this point.

    1. Just “rightly on alert”, thank you very much!

  12. When I was a youngster, I was quite the looker, and yet perverts seldom tried to get at me. I guess things are different these days. I mean, most of the kids these days are uggos and even still the pedos are after them. Standards aren’t what they used to be, I guess.

    1. Sadly I was so ugly even the priests left me alone, hobos (that was what we call the Homeless back then) would cross the street to avoid me.

  13. Alt-text: Melissa Click’s Baby Pictures Prove She’s White!

    1. Which one is Melissa Click?

      1. Melissa Click was the (adjunct) professor that called for “some muscle” to stop student photographers from reporting on whatever safe-space nonsense was going on on her campus. Incidentally she had previously complained to the administration that they had not channeled sufficient media attention to the safe-space nonsense.

        1. He meant “which one was she in the photo?”

          1. Jesse is, of course, the bear on the left.

            1. I knew you would be on this comment thread.

    2. Goddamn celebrity fail! Rachel Dolezal! I meant Rachel Dolezal!

      God I can’t keep all the fucked up race baiters straight. Time to hang it up for the evening and smoke some Trainwreck.

      1. Guess we better get some muscle over here.

      2. Coincidentally both those cunts now live within 10 minutes of me in Spokane. I am now looking for some acreage outside of town.


  14. A dad in Ostego, Michigan?population 3,956?terrified parents, police, and school administrators

    Sounds horrifying.

  15. Certainly Cronkhite has learned what it means to be male and friendly and a little offbeat: “I will never try to go out and try to do anything nice for anyone again,” he said.

    Doing nice things for people should only be done by your benevolent Big Government! You know that! Because something something professional something something trained.

    1. “I will never try to go out and try to do anything nice for anyone again,”

      And the same exact busybodies turn around ten minutes later and bemoan what a cold, unfriendly place America is.

    2. Yes, only the TSA is qualified to sexually molest your children.

  16. Notice there’s not a single quote from any “terrified” parents, and the police chief’s story about the “mother ripping apart the teddy bear” is at least third-hand.

    I would bet that nobody involved in the giveaways panicked, just a bunch of busybodies who saw it as an opportunity to signal how much they care about the children.

  17. If you’re going to do this right, you have to use the teddy bears to lure the kids into a hot car with all the windows rolled up.

    1. No it has to be a VAN with the windows blacked. And a “cool” paint job and them magweelz on it. Oh, and twice pipes…….

  18. We, as a society, are doomed.

    That is all. Carry on, as best you can while we plunge into the abyss.

  19. “They’re gonna be full of heroin syringes! BECAUSE REASONS SHUT UP OKAY.”

  20. How did we ever get to this place where random acts of kindness are met with fear and suspicion?

  21. Could’ve waited a while & given them out for Trick or Treat.

    But the same problem could happen. People are suspicious of anything unusual, such as unusual giveaways for Trick or Treat, even when all the domestic advice blogs are suggesting such things as alternatives to candy. I’ve seen bubble bath suggested at some of those pages, and I’ve given away samples of mine, but parents have told me they’d throw away such a thing if it were in the kids’ Trick or Treat bag, although they’d accept them politely to humor the person giving them out. Why be more suspicious of such a thing than you would be of edibles? Just because you don’t think about the commonplace.

  22. I use to give away teddy bears in Seattle Washington in 1968. A why? was the worse response I got. How times have changed.

  23. hey, isn’t it the public school kids that are so “socialised” some folks get their knickers in a twist because some families homesschool, thus denying the kids their “socialisation”?

    How stupid is this. HOW can these people be truly happy when their lives are so bound up in fear? Cameras? Syringes? Drugs? Poison? Come ONNNNNnnnnnnnnn or the shelter that refused them because they weren’t
    brand new” and still hermetically sealed in their plastic shipping bags into which they were sealed before they left…. China? (and just WHO makes sure everything is sterile and free of contamination before its bagged in China?)

    Why didn’t the local cop shop dispatch a couple of undercover guys to “observe” the bear passer outer? Watch a guy like that for five minutes and you’d be assured he’s all on the up and up. Instead they all go into fear mode….. crazy. The inmates are running the assylum.

  24. People are idiots.

  25. Let me get this straight “a heavyset, older, white man handing out teddy bears to kids” Would they have panicked if he was wearing a red suit in a red vehicle?

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