Cliff Buffington pulled a bottle out of the sand in the Turks and Caicos back in 2011. He doesn't know how the bottle caught his eye because it was among many on the beach, but when he picked it up he noticed there was a note inside with the faded words "look inside" written on it.
After pulling out the letter he tried to read the words but they were a bit hard to see. What he could make out said to "return to ..419 ocean boulevard and resieve [sic] a reward of $150 from Tina owner of Beachcomer".
Several years have passed, but he has been slowly working away at finding the family. Finally, Buffington has successfully returned the letter to the family of the man who threw the letter into the water. Paula Pierce, daughter of the man who wrote the letter in the bottle is thrilled to have this little memory of her now deceased parents in her life.
"This is special because it brings back a piece of him, a piece of her, a piece of my childhood, a piece of the Beachcomber. All of these things are very hard to lose." - Paula Pierce
It wasn't easy to track down the family. There was no state on the note and when he started to Google around he found 'Ocean Boulevard' was a ridiculously common street name with the address popping up in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, California and more. He added the word "Beachcomber" into the mix and narrowed his results down to New Hampshire. He contacted the Chamber of Commerce who started him on the path.
He went from the Chamber of Commerce to the County Clerk's office, to the tax assessor who provided him with a website that he could search property deeds. This search led him to the names Tina and Paul who are Paula Pierce's parents. He has been in contact with Paula for a few years now, but was waiting until he could deliver the note in person, concerned of how it would travel in the mail.
When Paula learned about the note she was so happy. Her parents had passed away many years before and was just happy to have a little memory of them.
"That gave me chills today. I actually started to cry," she said. "I feel like they're sending me a message somehow." - Paula Pierce
Paula honored her father's message and gave Buffington the $150, even though he tried to refuse.
Have you ever received a note from a family member after they passed away?