A kid in Kansas released balloons with a note. A Cree man in Quebec found them 1,800 miles away.

Reid Habberts note traveled by balloon 1,800+ miles, from Kansas to Quebec.

Stories of people tossing a message in a bottle into the ocean and having it found by some stranger on a distant shore have always intrigued us. The questions of chance vs. providence in who receives the message and the possible perils that could impede it from reaching anyone at all make the whole idea intriguing. A simple story beginning—throwing a message haphazardly out to the big, wide world—can have so many endings.

When 10-year-old Reid Habbart from Manhattan, Kansas attached a note to a bunch of helium-filled balloons and sent them off into the sky, he had no idea where it would end up. He certainly didn't expect them to travel more than 1,800 miles north, to traditional First Nations lands in Quebec, where a Cree hunter would find them while out hunting geese.

"I found them on the water … about a kilometer from my camp," 51-year-old David Bertie Longchap told CBC. "I thought 'Oh what is this?'"


The way the balloons were found on the water highlights the environmental reasons not to release balloons, but thankfully this story has a happy ending.

Longchap tied the balloons to his pickup truck, and after they dried out he was able to make out the note attached to them: "Hi, my name is Reid. I'm 10-years-old and I live in Manhattan, Kansas …These are my sister's balloons. If you find these, please write me."

Longchap's sister Hattie posted about the find on her Facebook page on April 26, with photos of her brother with the balloons and the note and maps showing how far they had traveled.

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Hattie connected with Reid's family through Facebook, and they were amazed at where his balloons had ended up.

"The wind was out of the north that day blowing hard," Reid's father told Hattie, according to CBC. "I figured they would end up in Texas. Not north."

Others in the Quebec Cree community have been delighted by the story, sharing comments on Hattie's Facebook posts and extending an invitation for Reid to come visit.

"That is so cool," Amanda Miansum wrote. "Tell him all of us Crees said 'Hi' back too!"

"This little guy just made so many friends in CREE NATION,💙 hope you get a chance to visit CN and where your balloon journey ended," wrote Delana Gunner-Blackned.

"Hey there Reid, you touched the Cree Nation," wrote Harriet Petawabano. "You are really popular here now, hugs and love to you ❤️❤️."

According to CBC, the Longchaps are planning to send Reid a beaded rainbow keychain in honor of their mother, Emma Trapper Longchap, who was the first of the Quebec Cree to die of COVID-19 in 2020. They will also send a photo and some information about Eeyou Istchee, the traditional Cree lands in the Quebec area.

Reid's parents shared the video of the balloon release in Kansas. You can hear his father saying, "Off to Nebraska," which is hilarious considering how much farther they went.

And in an additional bit of serendipitous coincidence, check out the truck in the video. Reid's balloons began their journey with a red pickup and ended their journey with a red pickup over 1,800 miles away.

No storyteller could have scripted it more perfectly.

Moricz was banned from speaking up about LGBTQ topics. He found a brilliant workaround.

Senior class president Zander Moricz was given a fair warning: If he used his graduation speech to criticize the “Don’t Say Gay” law, then his microphone would be shut off immediately.

Moricz had been receiving a lot of attention for his LGBTQ activism prior to the ceremony. Moricz, an openly gay student at Pine View School for the Gifted in Florida, also organized student walkouts in protest and is the youngest public plaintiff in the state suing over the law formally known as the Parental Rights in Education law, which prohibits the discussion of sexual orientation or gender identity in grades K-3.

Though well beyond third grade, Moricz nevertheless was also banned from speaking up about the law, gender or sexuality. The 18-year-old tweeted, “I am the first openly-gay Class President in my school’s history–this censorship seems to show that they want me to be the last.”

However, during his speech, Moricz still delivered a powerful message about identity. Even if he did have to use a clever metaphor to do it.

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Matthew McConaughey in 2019.

Oscar-winning actor Matthew McConaughey made a heartfelt plea for Americans to “do better” on Tuesday after a gunman murdered 19 children and 2 adults at Robb Elementary School in his hometown of Uvalde, Texas.

Uvalde is a small town of about 16,000 residents approximately 85 miles west of San Antonio. The actor grew up in Uvalde until he was 11 years old when his family moved to Longview, 430 miles away.

The suspected murderer, 18-year-old Salvador Ramos, was killed by law enforcement at the scene of the crime. Before the rampage, Ramos allegedly shot his grandmother after a disagreement.

“As you all are aware there was another mass shooting today, this time in my home town of Uvalde, Texas,” McConaughey wrote in a statement shared on Twitter. “Once again, we have tragically proven that we are failing to be responsible for the rights our freedoms grant us.”

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Joy

50-years ago they trade a grilled cheese for a painting. Now it's worth a small fortune.

Irene and Tony Demas regularly traded food at their restaurant in exchange for crafts. It paid off big time.

Photo by Gio Bartlett on Unsplash

Painting traded for grilled cheese worth thousands.

The grilled cheese at Irene and Tony Demas’ restaurant was truly something special. The combination of freshly baked artisan bread and 5-year-old cheddar was enough to make anyone’s mouth water, but no one was nearly as devoted to the item as the restaurant’s regular, John Kinnear.

Kinnear loved the London, Ontario restaurant's grilled cheese so much that he ordered it every single day, though he wouldn’t always pay for it in cash. The Demases were well known for bartering their food in exchange for odds and ends from local craftspeople and merchants.

“Everyone supported everyone back then,” Irene told the Guardian, saying that the couple would often trade free soup and a sandwich for fresh flowers. Two different kinds of nourishment, you might say.

And so, in the 1970s the Demases made a deal with Kinnear that he could pay them for his grilled cheese sandwiches with artwork. Being a painter himself and part of an art community, Kinnear would never run out of that currency.

Little did Kinnear—or anyone—know, eventually he would give the Demases a painting worth an entire lifetime's supply of grilled cheeses. And then some.

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