Anyone who’s ever been a kid has, at some point, fallen victim to a message in a bottle fantasy. It’s truly one of the most romantic ideas ever, isn’t it? In nothing but a glass bottle, a message can cross an ocean and connect two random people who are half the world apart.
And what’s even more romantic? Belief in the good of people completely unknown to you, enough to send them well-wishes from across the world without being prompted by anything other than the guidance of your heart and curious mind.
These days, technology has connected the world more than ever, and the whimsy of a message in a bottle has almost ceased to exist. But one young boy managed to follow his dream through before that could happen. And once he had almost completely forgotten it, his dream came true.
Max Vredenburgh was just 10 years old when he sat down with a message for the unknown. He wrote out all of his favorite things in the note – obviously looking for ways to connect. “I like apples. I like the beach, my favorite color’s blue, I like animals, I like cars, and I like outer space,” he declared in the typical fashion of a young boy. He bottled it up, and put it into the coastal Massachusetts water, hoping it would find its way to a kind stranger.
Almost 10 years later, it did.
Now into his second year at university, Max got a text the other day from his father that he never expected. There was a letter waiting for him at home…from France. But after so many years, his childhood message in a bottle didn’t even cross his mind. It wasn’t until he finally opened up the letter that he got the surprise of a lifetime. “When I first read his letter, my heart, my stomach just dropped. I was like, ‘oh my God. My 10-year-old wish just came true. This is insane,’” Max later said.
A man found the bottle beached on the coast of France, clear across the Atlantic Ocean – more than 3,000 miles from where Max had first sent it out so long ago. “It will have taken 9 years to cover the 6000 kms that separates us,” G. Dubois wrote back to him. “You had grown a lot during that time: 10 to 19 years old.” In his excitement, the first thing Max did was share the story and a picture on Twitter. The post went viral, accumulating more than 500,000 likes and 136,000 retweets. One person on Twitter commented, “My favorite people are the ones that are optimistic enough as children to throw messages in a bottle.”
Then, CBS Boston came knocking on the door.
During their interview, Max admitted, “Logistically, I think I have a higher chance of winning the lottery than this happening,” He told CBS that the letter made him reflect on exactly how he’d changed during that time, and who he is as a person today. He’s written back to Dubois, thanking him for his response and hoping to know more about him as a person. He wants to know “what his favorite food is, what his favorite color is. Does he like space?”