Sometimes in this mad world of ours where we’re constantly hearing about the violence in other countries, the joblessness, the latest Hollywood scandal, or the latest corrupt banker who is stealing tax payers’ money, we’ll come across a story that is so genuine and innocent, it warms our hearts and reminds us of the childlike hope we had when we were little. This is one of those stories.
This little 9-year old, Oisin Millea, a red-headed, treasure-hunting cutie from Waterford, Ireland found a bottle washed up on the shore of a small village called Passage East. At first he thought it was a piece of garbage until he opened it and found a letter inside written in French by two Canadian girls who had been on vacation in Quebec eight years earlier. The bottle had traveled 2,500 miles across the Atlantic, pushed by the ocean currents that brought it to Waterford. The message said:
“Hello, we are two girls who had the idea to launch a bottle into the sea. We are called Charlaine and Claudia. We are both 12 and we live in Montreal. We are on vacation in the Gaspésie, in the village of Grande Vallée. We had the idea to launch a bottle into the sea because we saw a TV show about young people putting messages in bottles. If you find our bottle, tell us when and how you found our bottle. Also tell us your name, age, place of residence. Example: Paris, Miami, etc … To contact us write to us at: email@example.com”
To finish, if you don’t have Internet, go to a friend’s or go to an Internet café because we are very curious to know if our bottle was found.
Charlaine and Claudia”
Oisin and his family found that the email address no longer worked but the story drew so much attention that the two girls, now 20, heard about it and contacted the boy:
Tuesday night, Oisin sat down to chat with them in a much more modern way—online, via Skype.
“Bonjour!” he said cheerily, before showing them their old note and the crushed, green plastic bottle he found it in. The young women leaned in close to their computer to get a better look.
Now in college—Dalpe is studying interior design and Gaudreau is studying nuclear medicine—the women say they remember their message in a bottle clearly, though they never thought it would go so far. In fact, they threw the bottle repeatedly into the Saint Lawrence River, and every time the tide would bring it back, and they gave up after it got caught in some rocks.
“Maybe it will get free eventually,” Garneau told The Montreal Gazette that she thought at the time. “But we didn’t think it would get all the way there.”
“It’s really special,” said Dalpé. “It’s something you see in a movie, but you don’t think that can happen for real. Especially when you send it into the sea, and it keeps coming back. And that it was a child who found it, close to the age we were when we sent it. It’s like a dream.”
Millea will have a chance to meet the girls in person next summer, when they visit him in Ireland.
“We cannot believe how happy Oisin’s story has made people,” his mother told the New York Daily News. “He is enjoying his few days of fame.”
It is a great story! I’m wondering, though, why does it touch people so much? Why do stories like these make us all warm and fuzzy inside? Could it be the wonder of fate? The idea that life is not random and certain things were meant to happen? Is it the distant communication between two beings over a great expanse of space and time that intrigues us? Or is it just fun?
As for me, I kind of think that we all have a message in a bottle we need to send to someone who is destined to find it. Someone who will listen to us and respond. As Sting would say: “I’m sending out an SOS to the world. I hope you get my message in a bottle.”
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