FROM KANSAS TO LOUISIANA- This story is about how social media took a simple post and made it go viraL but it actually started with a low-tech message in a bottle sort of approach. Letecia Flores-Gonzalez is a mom with 4 year old twin daughters: Luna and Gianella. They live in Liberal, Kansas. In December Letecia came up with a different way for her daughters to send a letter to Santa Claus.
"It came about sending a letter to Santa," Letecia said. "I was thinking, okay what can I do to make something different, memorable for them."
So the twins came up with a “wish list” for Santa and instead of mailing it to the North Pole, Letecia got helium filled balloons and attached the envelopes to it and the girls went outside and released their balloons.
"It was so windy that day, the balloons were flying really low so I figured they're going to get stuck in a tree," Letecia explained.
But instead of getting caught in the trees, one of the girls’ balloons wound up traveling more than 600 miles away, heading South and eventually landing near Shreveport, Louisiana. Alvin Bamburg was out hunting one morning when something caught his eye.
"I was down on my hunting lease just south of south of Grand Cane, Louisiana, I saw what appeared to be a red balloon in a treetop," Bamburg said. "I went to retrieve it and it had a note on it to Santa. So when I got home, I showed it to my wife and it was Christmas list for a little girl named Luna. All it had on it was her Christmas wishes and that she had been a good girl and she lived in Liberal, Kansas."
So Alvin’s wife Lee Ann decided to share Alvin’s Balloon find on Facebook with her friends, she posted a picture of the Twin’s Letter to Santa to see if anyone knew who it came from.
"And over 22o people shared the story, so it just went all over the United States," Alvin explained.
And Lee Ann’s Facebook post would eventually show up on a group page for Liberal, Kansas, a friend called Letecia and told her she should take a look.
"I looked on Facebook and I just couldn't believe it, " Letecia said. "I was in disbelief that somebody found had found one of my girl's balloons, especially that far out."
And Letecia contacted Lee Ann and Alvin, and they wound up talking and well Alvin wanted to do something. And since the letter was meant for Santa, he stepped in. Alvin asked Letecia if it would be okay to fulfill some of Luna's Christmas wishlist. Letecia was reluctant at first but she would eventually say it would be okay. The Bamburgs shared their story on Facebook and people everywhere wanted to help out. Suffice to say the twins got their wish list fulfilled; one of their wishes included a puppy –so Alvin got a small Dacshund named Max. The Bamburgs visited with Letecia and her daughters last January to exchange the gifts.
"I am just so thankful that so many wonderful people still exist that are willing give this out of themselves to a stranger just to put a smile on their face" Letecia said.
"Biggest blessing a person can get, so much joy and happiness, see the smiles on everybody's faces, it's pure happiness," Alvin said. "They're our friends now, we have a whole new set of family."
Since they met, the Bamburgs and the Gonzalez family have been talking to each other on the phone almost every day."