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McKinney neighborhood bench returns, thanks to 7-year-old

It was the keen eye of a 7-year-old that spotted a missing bench that was beloved by a neighborhood in McKinney.

MCKINNEY, Texas — Esther Lee McHenry put her beautifully painted bench out on her front lawn with the hopes that the community would embrace it. The bench became a community staple within no time. Students used it as a bus stop, walkers used it as a pit stop, and people even used it to eat lunch.

"I wanted it painted with a theme that kinda said, 'Come and have a seat. Let's visit,'" McHenry said.

When McHenry brought out her bench, she also brought out the best in her community. She says the people who lived around her started to connect around the bench.

"Neighborhoods have different religions and politics. But none of that matters on a bench. Right?" McHenry asked.

Clearly the bench, decorated in sunflowers and a peace sign, was much more than a bench. But it took something to happen to make everyone realize how important it was. 

One day, the bench was missing. 

McHenry looked everywhere for it. She is described by neighbors as an eternal optimist.

"I guess someone needed my bench more than I did," McHenry said. 

Six months later, it was the keen eye of a 7-year-old girl named Harper Vencill that brought the bench back home. Harper also lives in McKinney. In fact, she lives just a few doors down from McHenry.

"I just don't think its right for a beautiful bench like this to get stolen," Harper said.

Harper spotted the bench when she and her mother Brooke were driving to Harper's grandparents' house in Allen. Brooke told WFAA that Harper said she knew the whereabouts of the bench and told her it was in Allen. Brooke shrugged it off like most parents often do. 

"They see a lot more than we do," laughed Brooke.

The bench was spotted miles from its original spot — on the front porch of a home in Allen. No one knows who took the bench.

The family who had it never knew it was stolen. McKinney police officers were able to finally reunite the bench with Esther and the entire community.

"Here's a little child looking out for me," McHenry said.

McHenry has only two requirements if you're using the bench: Don't take it and do take a moment to visit.

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