It was a simple message of kindness that connected 80-year-old Rita Ganim of West Seneca to an 11-year-old boy almost 1,000 miles away.
In August of 2000, Rita wrote a message while visiting her daughter Jackie in Gloucester, Massachusetts; she stuffed it into a plastic Ocean Spray bottle and tossed it over the side of her son-in-law’s Boston Whaler.
“Just a little note saying hello, I’m visiting Gloucester. If and when someone gets this message please contact me. Cheers, Rita.”
The problem is, she used an email address that no longer exists.
“I never thought about it again truthfully,” Rita told News 4.
A couple months ago, she got a big reminder.
“My 11-year-old son Dallas found a message in the bottle on the shore across from our home,” Tara Goreham wrote Rita in an email back in March.
Her message had survived almost 20 years in the Atlantic ocean, finally washing to shore in the small fishing village of Woods Harbour, Nova Scotia.
“I didn’t really know what it was at first. I thought it was a prank but it wasn’t,” Dallas Goreham told News 4 via Facetime.
“He’s always bringing home different things from the shore that he finds so I asked him if he wanted to try to pursue and see if we could find the writer or not and he said yes we have to,” Tara told us.
Through the magic of Google, Tara and Dallas were able to track Rita down.
“I wanted to find out who it was because I thought it’d be pretty cool to meet her because she’s across the ocean,” Dallas said.
The message was slightly tattered, but still totally readable.
It was the only message in a bottle Rita ever sent. She said it was fate Dallas found it.
“Can you imagine just throwing that little bottle, what would have turned out this way?”
Rita’s story has garnered international interest; she’s been on the BBC and the New York Post to name a few.
How her message found it’s way to Dallas has become a hot topic in Gloucester, where her daughter and son-in-law live.
“There’s so any fisherman in Gloucester; all the fisherman since we were in the Boston Globe and all these papers, they’re trying to figure out did it follow the Gulf Stream? Well I don’t know the difference,” Rita laughed.
She said she’s just happy it ended up where it did.
Rita and Dallas plan on staying in contact. He told us he’d like to visit New York.