It seems Asbury Park Press was able to track down the sender of the message in a bottle discovered recently on Long Beach Island. The finder was Vince Stango, who “runs a software and IT consulting firm” according to APP; the sender was Stuart Brown, retired engineer, of Yorkshire, UK. The men have exchanged text messages since the find.
Asbury Park Press was able to make out the phone numbers on the message (apparently two were included) and Brown answered one of them. Asked why he sends messages in bottles (as he described sending several others on his journeys), he told APP: “I do it to get in touch with people.” He went on to say, “You might find somebody and make a friend. I like to think people find them. You never know what will happen.”
I must say, I really love Mr. Brown’s explanation here, because he hits on the key points that make messages in bottles so special. First, they allow you to “get in touch” with others. Case in point: two men from different countries and cultures are now connected by a powerful experience I doubt either will ever forget.
Second, “You might find somebody and make a friend.” ABSOLUTELY! I won’t get on the soapbox about this at the moment, but I just want to say yes, yes, yes. In a world that is “connected” by the internet, but in which we nevertheless find ourselves so often alone and isolated, what could be more powerful than making a new friend in this magical, mythical way?
Finally, “You never know what might happen.” I couldn’t agree more. The open-ended, mysterious, adventurous nature of messages in bottles is the source of their charm and power to connect. As I can tell you, you never do know what might happen. Heck, a message in a bottle could lead you to Washington, DC, or Marseille, France, or New Hope, Pennsylvania, or Canterbury, England, or Dresden, Germany…
Will Vince Stango, the finder, and Stuart Brown, the sender of this message in a bottle ever travel to meet each other? Who knows.
But what matters is this: The path to a new friendship lies clear. The wall between these two strangers is now and forever removed. We should all be so lucky–to extend a hand in friendship to the wild blue yonder, and receive friendship in return.
It’s still a beautiful world, friends and neighbors, and it’s full of good people. Don’t let anyone tell you different!