In September 2017, the state of Florida was in full emergency mode. Hurricane Irma was on its way and scheduled to hit Florida head-on. When it started out in the Atlantic Ocean, it was the most powerful storm ever recorded. When it hit the northeastern Caribbean Islands, it caused catastrophic damage. Next, it moved onto the United States, straight toward Florida.
While Irma was headed toward the Florida shore, millions of people had to be evacuated. It was the state’s largest mass evacuation on record. The power was down, and people were panicking, but two residents were headed in the wrong direction. They were headed toward the water.
Nikki Snow and Allen Gibson
Nikki Snow is an Eastern Florida State College business student. She and her boyfriend, Allen Gibson wanted to see Hurricane Irma approaching on September 10, 2017. Rather than evacuating, they went east from their home in Melbourne, Florida to the barrier island that separated them from the open waters of the Atlantic. It was around 3 pm when the young couple walked down an empty stretch of beach. Before the hurricane headed towards Florida, there were tiki huts set up along the shore. The couple watched and waited for the hurricane while the winds started to pick up.
Nikki and Allen were taking pictures and videotape of the beach. They were strangely excited about the danger that loomed on the horizon. As the wind force picked up rapidly, the couple realized that it was too dangerous to be so close to the water and they decided to seek higher ground. As they were running hand in hand, trying to fight against the wind, they saw something on the ground that caught their eye. It was something that they couldn’t leave behind.
The Bright Green Bottle
Nikki and Allen saw a bright green wine bottle sticking up out of the sand on Indialantic Beach. Thinking that it was garbage left behind by a beachgoer, they went to pick it up. When they got close, they realized that there was a cork in it. They looked in the bottle, but it wasn’t filled with wine. There was a note inside. Both Nikki and Allen were curious, but they didn’t have time to read the note right then and there. The wind was picking up, and they had to seek shelter immediately. They held on tight to the bottle and continued their search for higher ground.
Message In a Bottle
When the couple returned to their home in Melbourne, they decided to hunker down from the storm. While waiting out the storm, the couple took the note out of the bottle. They couldn’t wait to see what it would say. Unfortunately, they weren’t able to read the note. It was written in Spanish, and neither of them understood the language. Nikki posted the note on Facebook to see if any of her friends could translate. Allen had a better idea.
El Ambia Cubano
Allen was a cook at a Cuban restaurant in Melbourne called El Ambia Cubano. He brought the letter to work and asked the kitchen manager, Alfredo Hernandez Froment, who was bilingual, to translate the note. Alberto was glad to help, and he was curious about what the note said. The note was not randomly sent. It was actually asking for help. While Allen was having the letter translated, Nikki was doing the same. She got in touch with a Spanish instructor from the Florida Institute of Technology who was willing to translate the letter.
The author of the letter was a young woman living on a tropical island. She desperately wanted to improve her life. She addressed the note to, “mother,” and poured out her struggles into the letter. She poured her heart and soul into the letter, put it in the bottle, and set it adrift.
The Bottle’s Journey
The bottle could have washed up on the shore where it was sent off from, but it didn’t. The bottle made it across the ocean hundreds of miles until it washed up on the Florida shore. The author of the letter was Chilia Lynn. She was from Havana, Cuba. The 25-year-old was an R&B singer and pianist. She found success at a young age and landed the lead role in Disney’s, The Princess and the Frog.” She released her first album in 2012. Sadly, she felt that her career was soon standing still. She wanted her career to go much further than it did. After praying in church, she wrote the note and threw it into the Havana Bay.
Alberto and Chilia
Alberto decided to reach out to Chilia to let her know that her message had been found. When she first read his email, she wasn’t sure if it was a hoax. When he convinced her that he was on the up and up, the two started conversing regularly. Chilia opened up to him about her struggles, and he decided to help. He had some connections in America, and he was able to help her out. She is in the process of getting a band together, and Alberto believes that it is his destiny to help. The note made it to him for a reason, and he wants to see it though. A Florida couple finds heartbreaking message in a bottle that sparks incredible journey to find sender. It is an incredible story.