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#NolansGift Message in a Bottle Found on Bald Head Island, North Carolina, Inspires Random Acts of Kindness

Among the many magical powers of messages in bottles, my favorite is their ability to bring out the best in people. That, and their ability to connect total strangers in powerful, meaningful ways. The story of the McGee family’s message in a bottle is one of the most beautiful and inspiring stories I have ever heard, and also one of the most heartbreaking. It began when Kara McGee and her husband Marshall tragically lost their first son at birth in March of 2012, according to WECT 6 News in North Carolina. The McGees have gone on to have two healthy boys, and they have a small family celebration each March to commemorate Nolan, the son they lost. This year, they decided to participate in a sort of “pay it forward” phenomenon called the “Five Dollar Fairy”. As Kara explained to WECT, she and her family put $5 bills into envelopes and handed them out to strangers. But they envelopes also contained letters. Kara told WECT “(We) put the story of Nolan inside with the money, and the hashtag #Nolan’sGift.” The idea is to make someone’s day and encourage them to pay it forward by making someone else’s day. On April 1st, 2018 the McGees tried something different. Instead of a letter, they sent out a #NolansGift message in a bottle.

“On the first of April, we put a message in a bottle along with $5 and a note about Nolan and how we are spreading acts of kindness,” Kara told WECT. “My son Ronan threw the bottle off the Kure Beach Pier.”

Ronan McGee sending #NolansGift message in a bottle out to sea from Kure Beach Pier, North Carolina.

Ronan McGee sending #NolansGift message in a bottle out to sea from Kure Beach Pier, North Carolina. Photo: McGee Family / Facebook.

Then, they waited.

#NolansGift Message in a Bottle Found in Nicholas Sparks Country

The McGees’ message in a bottle could have gotten sucked out into the Gulf Stream and not been found for years. It could have washed up at the feet of someone who couldn’t read it. It could have been lost at sea, sunk, or destroyed in any number of ways.

Instead, it washed up just a few weeks later and was found by the exact right family–the Spaldings, who were visiting Bald Head Island south of Wilmington from Newburyport, Massachusetts.

Spalding family with #NolansGift message in a bottle on Bald Head Island, NC, where they found it.

Spalding family with #NolansGift message in a bottle on Bald Head Island, NC, where they found it. Photo: Spalding Family / McGee Family / Facebook.

The Spaldings found Kara on Facebook and wrote to her:

Dear Kara & Marshall, We found one of your messages in a bottle today at the Point on Bald Head Island. I initially grumbled because I thought someone had left their wine bottle on the beach and then I saw the message inside. I waited until my children and husband joined me on the beach to open it up. I cried as I read your message aloud. We were all touched by your story. Blessings to you all and to Nolan. We will do something special with the $5 and we will also set the bottle, your note and an additional note from us free when we get home to Newburyport, Massachusetts. I can’t wait to see where #nolansgift travels next. Much love to your family. Sarah, Tim, Grayson, Sadie & Sam.

Message in a Bottle Inspires Acts of Kindness

Next thing the McGees heard, the Spaldings had donated that $5 to Bald Head Island’s Sea Turtle Protection Program, which is run by the Bald Head Island Conservancy.

Here’s the family actually donating the $5 bill from the #NolansGift message in a bottle!

Spalding family donating $5 from #NolansGift message in a bottle to the Bald Head Island Sea Turtle Protection Program.

Spalding family donating $5 from #NolansGift message in a bottle to the Bald Head Island Sea Turtle Protection Program. Photo: Mcgee Family / Spalding Family / Facebook.

Is that cool or what?

Naturally, Kara was delighted to learn that the Spaldings took #NolansGift to heart. Here’s what she had to say to WECT 6 News in Wilmington:

#NolansGift Message in a Bottle Continues to Inspire

The McGees sent their message in a bottle hoping to inspire the finder to do something nice for someone else. One act of kindness was all they could hope for. But they had no idea how many people would be touched by the story. Not only did they befriend and inspire the Spaldings, they also managed to help protect Bald Head Island’s famous sea turtles! They have also touched countless others through the circulation of their story online. And all of this in the region of Wilmington, NC — Practically Nicholas Sparks’s backyard!

I know I say it all the time, but messages in bottles are magic, plain and simple.

Here’s to the McGees and Spaldings for kindling a little more magic in a world that needs it desperately.

***If you liked this post, click here to find me on Facebook and like my page for more message in a bottle stories! YOU could be the next one to solve a message in a bottle mysteryClick here to learn more about messages in bottles, and you can always contact me with questions, ideas, or stories.

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