To celebrate her late father’s birthday, 16-year-old Ashely Marracino wrote him a heartwarming letter on a star-shaped balloon and let it go to float in the sky, hoping that somehow it would reach her dad.
Only one day later, Lisa Swisley came across the touching message; the balloon had traveled from Whittier, California, to Auburn, which is 436 miles away. “I showed up at my restaurant and a customer handed it to me,” said Swisley, who owns two restaurants in Auburn, California. “I noticed there was writing on it and I got very teary-eyed.”
The beginning of the note read, “You have missed so much and I miss you,” the balloon read. “And I love you, miss you like crazy!” Ashlynn went on to tell her dad what all she’s been up to, and pleads with him to send her a sign to let her know he’s still there.
Swisley decided to take action on this darling girl’s plea and went on a mission to find and reach out to Ashelynn on Facebook.
via abcnews by Lisa Swisley
“I thought it would be cool to send her something to show my support,” Swisley told ABC News. “I jumped on a pay-it-forward page I follow on Facebook, and asked people to contribute.”
Members of the Auburn community helped Swisley’s effort gain momentum, and began sending Ashlynn care packages, letters and even some notes sharing their own experiences of losing a parent.
“It’s all been so unbelievable,” Swisley said. “It’s the fact that the balloon landed in front of me and I decided to do something about it. It never occurred to me not to.”
Since their story has gone public, Swisley and Ashlynn have connected via Skype.
“I think she is adorable and a really sweet girl,” Swisley said. “I asked her if she wanted the balloon back and she said if people can see it and be inspired, we should keep it here. She is an amazing young lady.”