(WFLA) — A Kentucky man was just 10 years old when he took a trip to Florida and tossed a message in a bottle into the ocean.
Almost four decades later, the Carrmax family couldn’t believe their eyes when they saw a note inside an old Pepsi bottle that washed up in a Florida lagoon.
WLKY reported that Troy Heller’s message in a bottle was found in November in the aftermath of Hurricane Nicole. The bottle washed up on shore in Sebastian, Florida, which is about 13 miles north of where he once tossed it into the water.
The news station said the bottle ended up in the hands of two teachers, who were clearing up after the storm. They saw Katie and Annie Carrmax walking in the area with their two young daughters and decided to pass it along.
“We carefully tried taking the top of the bottle off and getting it out without damaging the bottle,” Katie Carrmax said.
“We opened the message. We were happy and the message had Troy’s phone number and house address and it was really exciting,” Kylie Carrmax said.
Heller never knew his message would float 14 miles over almost four decades.
“I wrote you know, whoever finds this, you know, call me or write to me,” Heller said.
The Carrmaxes wanted to but they only had Heller’s name, a number and Google.
The family decided to send a text to Heller, and hours later he responded.
“I was absolutely shocked. I couldn’t believe it,” Heller said. “For them to actually take the time to seek me out and find it. I mean, it’s brought me so much joy and [my] family so much joy. It is just been amazing.”
The Carrmaxes decided to post a video about the message in a bottle on TikTok. WLKY reported that they also mailed the original letter back to Heller.
Once Heller received the letter, he decided to hang it up on a wall in his home.
“It’s something you never thought would happen,” Heller told WLKY. “I thought I’d just throw it out in the ocean and just see where it went, you know? It’s just amazing that it finally found its way back.”