A Pitt Meadows nine-year-old who lost her balloon bouquet got it back from northern Alberta.
Eliana Koubi broke her right arm at summer camp, on just the second day, and got it casted.
She brightened up when her mother Alisha’s boss sent a bouquet of get well balloons, complete with chocolate-dipped strawberries.
“It was quite the treat for Iliana,” said Alisha. “She felt pretty special and important.”
But the following Sunday, Aug. 23, when they were having a family dinner with grandma, the little girl brought her balloons out onto the deck. By nightfall, mom realized they had disappeared.
“Nobody saw them leave,” said Alisha. “I felt a little sick,” she added, as she thought both about how disappointed her daughter would be, and fretting about potential environmental problems balloons cause in nature.
“Eliana was really upset about it.”
Then two days later on Tuesday, when Alisha was doing a zoom conference, she got a call from Alberta. It was so surprising she had to listen to it more than once.
The balloons had been recovered in a small town north of Edmonton. Doreen Poirier was calling, because they had been found in her brother’s field near Fahler, a town of about population 1,000 near Grand Prairie. The delivery tag for the Koubi family was still on the balloons, so the finder was able to call.
According to Google Maps, they had travelled a distance of 1,181 km from Pitt Meadows.
“From sometime Sunday to Tuesday those balloons made this incredible journey across two provinces,” Alisha said.
They would have had to fly over the Rocky Mountains, which can reach almost 4,000 metres above sea level in B.C.
She tried to make Eliana understand, and the best was that it would take an all-day car ride to follow the same path her balloons had gone.
“When you’re nine you don’t comprehend the geography. I explained to her it would take us 13 hours to driver there without stopping. She said ‘wow.’
“And she’s a sentimental kid, and said it was so nice of Doreen to call.”
Not only that, the affable Albertan also mailed the balloons back to be reunited with their owner.
They arrived on Tuesday, deflated and krinkly, and one showing some grey.
“Maybe they picked up some soot from a forest fire,” said Alisha.
But they were accompanied by a get well card and a box of chocolates, and it was all pretty exciting for Eliana, said her mom.
They plan to sit down and write a left-handed letter of thanks.
“This is a story our whole family will cherish forever.”