Young girl’s balloon ‘letter to heaven’ for father found 435 miles away


Ashlynn Marracino penned the note as a way to wish her father happy birthday.

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AUBURN, Calif. -- And young girl wrote a letter to her late father on the plastic sides of a star-shaped balloon. She released her message to the sky -- and probably never imagined it would touch hears more than 400 miles away.

"It's unclear how long this star-shaped balloon was flying in the skies above us, but when it finally fell to Earth, it found the right people," said Anjali Hemphill of Auburn, Calif.

Jacob Brandt was leaving a Local Heroes after lunch last week when he came across a balloon crumpled on the ground.

"I asked them if they had a receptacle to deposit it in cause I thought it to be trash," Brandt said.

"We started reading it and realized what we had here and got kind of emotional about it," restaurant owner Lisa Swisley said.

Swisley says she immediately noticed it wasn't just any balloon but one with a letter from a young girl.

"Happy birthday dad. I will always be your little girl dad. Don't forget that I miss you," it read to her father, who had died.

Swisley noted the name written on the balloon and found the young girl on Facebook. The girl's Facebook page said she is from Whittier, in Southern California.

"It came over 400 miles," Swisley said. "It's a long way and a lot of empty space in between. And how it got here, I don't know."

Swisley knew she wanted to do something so she started asking for donations on Facebook to send the young girl a care package.

"Jewelry and photo albums and some letters," Swisley said. "Messages of support and love from here in Auburn."

A very special balloon that could have easily been thrown away.

"She asked in the letter to send her a sign and so ... I don't know maybe it came here for a reason," Swisley said.

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