Steve Mershon is no stranger to encountering seaside treasures - he has a collection full of shells, sunglasses, and other bottles that he's spotted along the shore - but this particular bottle, with its powerful note enclosed, holds more meaning than anything he's ever seen.
After making the tear-inducing discovery, Steve posted a photo of the simple glass bottle along with a handwritten note from a fifth-grade boy. The heartbreaking message is for the little boy's best friend, who has passed away, and recounts not only some of their favorite things to do together but also the child's hope that his friend is having fun with Jesus.
Steve shared his own letter to Jonothan letting the boy know what a strong little man he is and how lucky Daniel was to have him as a friend:
"You show so much love in your heart way beyond your years. Your parents, friends, teachers, myself, and all of my friends who know I found your letter are so proud of you," Steve wrote. "I don't know where you threw your note in the ocean, or how long it was in the water, but it landed in the right hands. Jonothan, your bottle, with your letter to your best friend, is the most beautiful thing I have ever found."
Instead of adding the precious treasure to his collection, Steve assured the child in his letter that the bottle will be returned to sea. "You threw that bottle out to show your love for your best friend. It is meant to be shared," Steve explained. "I took pictures of it, and shared it with friends on my Facebook page. It tugged at many heartstrings, Jonothan. But it's going to be shared with more people."
In his post, Steve revealed that he already has a big cruise planned and is going to bring the bottle with him - complete with a note of his own. He intends to drop the bottle in the "deepest, prettiest, most blue water" he can find in hopes that another person will eventually discover the meaningful messages.
"You're a good man, Jonothan," Steve wrote. "I'm hoping maybe . . . the world can see the love in one fifth grader's heart, and we can, one by one, all get along."