When 39-year-old Garland, Texas tow truck driver Brian Mullins died this past spring, his family wanted to honor his life in the best way possible. Mullins loved fishing, being free, and traveling, but he had never gotten to fish in the ocean.
“He was an avid fisherman,” said his mother Darlene. “He wanted to travel the world.”
Brian Mullins’ family placed his ashes into a bottle along with some money and a letter in case anyone found it and wanted to get in touch with the family. Then, they put the bottle into the sea.
However, not long after, the bottle washed ashore onto a Florida Panhandle beach. The bottle was reported to authorities and Sgt. Paula Pendleton was put in charge.
Pendleton, who lost her husband only a year ago, was emotional reading the note.
“Hello,” the note began. “This bottle contains the cremation ashes of my son, Brian, who suddenly and unexpectedly passed on March 9, 2019. More than anything, he longed to be free, so I’m sending him on one last adventure. This bottle was launched from Destin, Florida. If you find it, please call or text me and let me know. I have left $4 to cover the call. Feel free to add your own note, then kindly set him free once again. My son was 39 years old at the time of his passing and he was deeply loved. Please keep him traveling. Blessings.”
There was also a note from Mullins’ daughter.
“Hi, my name is Peyton. I am Brian’s daughter. When my father passed, I was 14-years-old. It has struck our whole family pretty hard and, so far, it has been a very hard road. But, like my granny said, he loved to be free. So, that’s exactly what we are doing.”
“I sat in here, in my patrol car, and cried like a baby,” Pendleton said.
Pendleton wanted to help fulfill Mullins’ and his family’s wishes. So she reached out to an acquaintance with a charter boat and asked if he would take the ashes off the coast so they would have a better chance of going far—just like his family intended.
Walton County Sheriff Michael Adkinson, Jr. posted the story on his Facebook page, where Darlene Mullins was able to show her gratitude for those who helped her son continue his journey.
“There are no words to express my deep appreciation to all involved in my son’s journey,” she wrote. “God’s hands were all over this.”