54-year-old Steve Merson was walking along the beach by his Indialantic, Florida, home when he came across a glass bottle with a letter stuffed inside.
However, he had no idea that the message that soda bottle contained would run as deep as the ocean he found it in. While he expected to find an everyday note from a stranger, the piece of loose leaf inside was so much more than that.
“I thought it would have a name, an email address, a ‘Hi to whoever is reading this!'” Steve told TODAY.
Instead, he found an emotional letter penned by a fifth-grader named Jonothan whose best friend had died.
The note reads:
I’m really sorry that you passed away and if you were alive, me and you will be playing football, soccer and basketball and be playing with Matthew and Oscar and Brandon. I am in the fifth grade, and you were my best friend and our favorite song was Austin Moon and I hope you [have] fun with Jesus.
From your best friend,
Steve Mershon told Today, “To see some little kid pouring his heart out to his buddy like that … it was bothering me all day. I felt like I had to respond.”
Mershon responded by writing a public letter to Jonathan on Facebook and it’s been shared more than a thousand times since posting.
It starts out, “Dear Jonothan Torres.. My name is Steve, and I found your note in a bottle on a beautiful Tuesday morning, April 19th…”
The full letter on Facebook reads…
Mershon went on to say, “It didn’t just touch me—it’s touching everybody. I’ve gotten so many messages and friend requests … people have shown so much love.”
Mershon plans to put Jonathan’s letter back in the bottle and send it out to sea again in May; he also hopes that, somehow, Jonathan might see his Facebook message and find healing in the fact that his message was read and shared by so many people.
Thanks to the TODAY Show for covering this beautiful story.