When two young Canadian girls put a message in a bottle into the St. Lawrence River in Quebec in 2004, they probably didn't expect it to be found by a 10-year-old boy almost 2,500 miles away.
According to the BBC, Oisin Millea, a 10-year-old boy from Passage East in Ireland, discovered the plastic bottle on the beach near his home village while he was surveying the aftermath of a recent flooding last Thursday. Inside was a hand-written note in French signed by two girls, Charlaine and Claudia.
"I thought it was just rubbish. So I picked it up, looked in the bottle and then I opened it," Millea told CBC Montreal.
He added, "There was loads of stuff washed up. I thought there was just a label inside this bottle but when I saw the hair band used to keep it together, I opened it up," according to AFP.
At first Millea had trouble deciphering the note, which had been stuffed into a green two-liter plastic bottle.
"I tried to read it and I thought it was in Spanish, and then I found out it was in French," Millea told CBC Montreal.
According to the Edmonton Journal, after a little help from Google translate, Millea was able to read the letter.
Hello, we are two girls who had the idea to launch a bottle into the sea. We are called Charlaine and Claudia. We are both 12 and we live in Montreal. We are on vacation in the Gaspésie, in the village of Grande Vallée. We had the idea to launch a bottle into the sea because we saw a TV show about young people putting messages in bottles. If you find our bottle, tell us when and how you found our bottle. Also tell us your name, age, place of residence. Example: Paris, Miami, etc.
To finish, if you don’t have Internet, go to a friend’s or go to an Internet café because we are very curious to know if our bottle was found.
— Charlaine and Claudia"
The letter also included an email address to contact the girls. However, when Millea and his family attempted to send an email, the address was no longer active.
According to UPI, Millea then took his letter to a local newspaper. Armed with only the first names of the mysterious letter senders, Millea wasn't sure he would be able to find the two Canadian girls.
Thanks to social media, though, the story quickly went viral. It was eventually covered by a Montreal newspaper where Charlaine and Claudia saw a headline searching for them.
The girls -- Claudia Garneau and Charlaine Dalpe -- are now both 20. They were able to get in touch with Millea through the newspaper and set up a meeting over Skype.
"It's a bit unreal," Dalpé told the Edmonton Journal. "It's really special, like something you see in the movies. You don't expect something like this to happen for real."
According to CBC Montreal, Tourism Ireland also took note of the story and offered the women a free week-long trip to Ireland, during which they will be able to see their 8-year-old message again.
Millea's mother, Aoife, said finding the letter was the perfect catch for her son.
"Ever since he was a young boy, he has searched the beach and area for treasure," she told the Edmonton Journal. "This is his treasure."
Now Millea plans to send his own message in a bottle -- and who knows where it might end up.