Two grieving Texas sisters wrote sweet letters to their late dad and attached them to a balloon back in May. After releasing them into the sky, Gypsy and Story Retting hoped that their beloved daddy would see their messages up in heaven. But they didn't expect that another father would read their letters — and give them the most heartwarming response later that same month.
Lance Dunahoe, a business coach who lives about four miles away from the Rettings, didn't know who the letters were from after the balloon landed in his yard. He also didn't know that the Gypsy, 7, and Story, 6, had lost their father back in 2017, due to complications from a car accident he was in a decade earlier. But what he did know was that as a father, the letters touched him deeply.
One note read: "Dear Dad, we want to go up with you, we miss you so much. We want to go and hug you, and do all of the things you do. Love, Story."
The other read: "Dear Daddy, I miss you so much if you got this balloon then you are the best. I love you and Story too. Please watch over me and everyone in the family. Love, Gypsy."
After reading the notes, Dunahoe immediately went back into his house and gave his two little boys a hug.
"When I saw these notes, I was very much aware of how precious my children are, and the time I spend with them that can change any moment," he said in an interview with ABC News.
Then, he did some sleuthing to find out who wrote the sweet notes. He posted photos of the balloon and letters on Facebook, asking if anyone knew who sent them. Before long, a mutual friend of the girls' mother, Tiro Western, let her know where the balloon had ended up. Western and Dunahoe were then connected, and they were able to speak on the phone.
"You could tell that he’s genuinely touched," Western said. "You don’t expect these things to happen out of nowhere."
On the day that Dunahoe had found the balloon, Story — who has epilepsy — had been admitted to the hospital. Imagine her surprise when Dunahoe showed up to visit her and her family with the balloon, the notes, and a few tears in his eyes.
"I'm a daddy also," he told both Story and Gypsy.
Dunahoe has set up a GoFundMe page to help ease the financial strains on the girls' mom. So far, he's been overwhelmed by the positive response and is "totally overwhelmed by the generosity."
What a beautiful story. And to think — it all started with a balloon!
h/t ABC News