GOOD NEWS

Teen's Balloon Letter To Late Father Gets Beautiful Reply From Strangers 400 Miles Away

This teen asked for a sign from her late father. And that's exactly what she got from a group of compassionate strangers.

Ashlynn Marracino's father spent the first decade of his daughter's life in prison and became close with her after his release, but died from an aneurysm in 2010, CBS LA reported. Every year on her father's birthday, Jan. 6, the 16-year-old releases a balloon with a message to him -- an experience that she says is therapeutic for her, Today.com reported.

ashlynn

"I can write out stuff that I want to tell him," Marracino told Today.com. "It makes me feel like he would receive it -- seeing it go up into the sky and disappear … it feels like a weight has been lifted off your chest."

This year, the teen's letter included some emotional words:

"I’ve been playing softball for 11 years now. Can you believe it? I hope you helped me out with all those home runs," the message read, according to CBS LA. "I don’t like how I never had you in my life. It’s not fair. Show me a sign please. Anything to let me know you’re there. I miss you so much and I want you back."

balloon

A day later the balloon was found outside Local Heroes, a restaurant owned by Lisa Swisely, in Auburn, California. A customer saw it on the ground outside and handed it to Swisely to discard, according to the Auburn Journal. But Swisley spotted the writing on the balloon and read the heartbreaking letter signed by Marracino. She took to Facebook to contact the 16-year-old, and was stunned to find out that the teen lives 436 miles away in Whittier, California.

balloon

Swisley was so moved by the note that she decided to do something special for the teen.

The restaurant owner reached out to people in her community through a "Pay It Forward" Facebook page asking for help to put a care package together for Marracino, ABC reported. Care packages and letters have already flooded in for the teen from people showing their support.

"This balloon traveled all the way up here and landed in Auburn," Swisley said. "I thought it would be cool to send her a care package of love from us here in Auburn."

It's a show of compassion that has spoken volumes for Marracino.

"I told him to show me a sign, and I think this is a sign to not hold grudges and to forgive really easily," the 16-year-old told CBS.

HuffPost

BEFORE YOU GO

  • Festival Entrance
    Attendees entered the 2012 Festival of Balloons through this dream-like wonderland featuring balloon “trees,” “children,” and
    Warren Denning Photography/Pioneer® Balloon Company
    Attendees entered the 2012 Festival of Balloons through this dream-like wonderland featuring balloon “trees,” “children,” and other whimsical characters. Design by Azusa Ieizumi, CBA, of Bunny’s Balloon Art in Shizuoka, Japan. Photo courtesy of Pioneer® Balloon Company.
  • Phoenix Large Sculpture
    Experience balloon art beyond your wildest imagination at the Festival of Balloons, like this “rising Pheonix” that took 1st
    Warren Denning Photography/Pioneer® Balloon Company
    Experience balloon art beyond your wildest imagination at the Festival of Balloons, like this “rising Pheonix” that took 1st place in the Large Sculpture competition at the World Balloon Convention 2012. Design by Akane Shibata, CBA, of Bunny’s Balloon Factory in Shizuoka, Japan. Photo courtesy of Pioneer® Balloon Company.
  • Hot Air Balloon
    Be prepared for plenty of fun photo opportunities at the Festival of Balloons, like this huge hot air balloon! Design by Robb
    Warren Denning Photography/Pioneer® Balloon Company
    Be prepared for plenty of fun photo opportunities at the Festival of Balloons, like this huge hot air balloon! Design by Robbie Furman, CBA, of Remember Our Balloons…Building Incredible Events in Montclair, NJ, USA. Photo courtesy of Pioneer® Balloon Company.
  • Balloon Dress
    Balloons can be fashionable, too! Attendees at the Festival of Balloons were blown away by this stunning kimono dress, which
    Warren Denning Photography/Pioneer® Balloon Company
    Balloons can be fashionable, too! Attendees at the Festival of Balloons were blown away by this stunning kimono dress, which took 1st place in the Balloon Fashion competition at the World Balloon Convention 2012. Design by Yuka Yamakita of Global E Network in Tokyo, Japan. Photo courtesy of Pioneer® Balloon Company.
  • Doll Medium Sculpture
    Balloons come to life at the Festival of Balloons! You’ll see detailed masterpieces like this Japanese festival doll, which t
    Warren Denning Photography/Pioneer® Balloon Company
    Balloons come to life at the Festival of Balloons! You’ll see detailed masterpieces like this Japanese festival doll, which took 1st Place in the Medium Sculpture competition at the World Balloon Convention 2012. Design by Takehiro Kai of Hineriya in Hiroshima, Japan. Photo courtesy of Pioneer® Balloon Company.
  • Angel Large Sculpture
    You won’t believe your eyes when you see the larger-than-life works of balloon art, like this “sleeping angel” sculpture that
    Warren Denning Photography/Pioneer® Balloon Company
    You won’t believe your eyes when you see the larger-than-life works of balloon art, like this “sleeping angel” sculpture that delighted attendees at the 2012 Festival. The incredible sculpture was created using a variety of balloons and distortion techniques. Design by Masako Nomura, CBA, of FuwaFuwa Co., Ltd. in Okayama, Japan. Photo courtesy of Pioneer® Balloon Company.
  • Smiles All Around
    You just can’t help but smile at the Festival of Balloons! This family-friendly event features incredible works of art by bal
    Warren Denning Photography/Pioneer® Balloon Company
    You just can’t help but smile at the Festival of Balloons! This family-friendly event features incredible works of art by balloon artists from all over the world, as well as fun photo opportunities like this one. Photo courtesy of Pioneer® Balloon Company.
  • Entertaining The Crowd
    Children and adults alike will enjoy interactive performances by balloon entertainers at the family-friendly Festival of Ball
    Warren Denning Photography/Pioneer® Balloon Company
    Children and adults alike will enjoy interactive performances by balloon entertainers at the family-friendly Festival of Balloons. Photo courtesy of Pioneer® Balloon Company.
  • Dennis_Scott
    Dennis Scott, CBA, of Mister D's Balloon Twisting & Decor in Arlington Heights, IL, USA.
Photo courtesy of <a href="http://ww
    Warren Denning Photography/Pioneer® Balloon Company
    Dennis Scott, CBA, of Mister D's Balloon Twisting & Decor in Arlington Heights, IL, USA. Photo courtesy of Pioneer® Balloon Company.
  • Olga_Baranova
    Olga Baranova, CBA, of Sun Veter in Samara, Russia.
Photo courtesy of <a href="http://www.worldballoonconvention.com/" target
    Warren Denning Photography/Pioneer® Balloon Company
    Olga Baranova, CBA, of Sun Veter in Samara, Russia. Photo courtesy of Pioneer® Balloon Company.
  • Kao Wen-Hsiang, CBA, of Dream Balloon House in Taipei City, Taiwan.
Photo courtesy of <a href="http://www.worldballoonconvent
    Warren Denning Photography/Pioneer® Balloon Company
    Kao Wen-Hsiang, CBA, of Dream Balloon House in Taipei City, Taiwan. Photo courtesy of Pioneer® Balloon Company.
CONVERSATIONS