The mail has started to pour in for a Cape Breton man whose daughter sparked a viral campaign when she asked people on Twitter to send her father greetings in time for his 92nd birthday.
Among the highlights: a card from Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil, a book on the history of jazz, a calendar featuring feral dockyard cats, a box of chocolates and a bouquet of flowers.
Gerard Dunn, 91, is a retired Canada Post supervisor who has a real affinity for mail.
His daughter, Miriam, says she wanted to cheer him up ahead of his birthday in October because the death of his wife, Ellen, six months ago had been hard on him.
So, she sent out a simple tweet Monday with her father’s address to ask people to send mail. Since then, that tweet has been retweeted nearly 22,000 times and received 45,790 likes.
In under a week, dozens of cards and gifts have already arrived at Dunn’s home.
“The cards, for the most part, were very thoughtfully selected with beautiful artwork from local artists,” said Miriam Dunn.
“[My dad has] been very moved by some of the letters. The personal letters. He’s like, ‘Looks at this card! Oh it’s so beautiful!’ He loves looking at the cards, he’s loved reading the short little messages.”
Emotions were especially running high when they read a note online from the flight attendant who last saw Gerard and Ellen together.
Ellen had fallen ill on a plane while the couple was flying home from Florida. She was taken to hospital, where she later died.
“I received a letter from the flight attendant from the airplane and he said that the crew was moved by the love between my parents,” she said.
“He said, ‘We see many things happen in life and some of them stay with you and you wonder what became of it and what happened next’ and so he had continued to think about mom and wondered what happened.”
So far, the mail has come mostly from within Nova Scotia and Newfoundland, but the Dunns know there are some packages coming from afar.
Strangers from across Canada and around the world have been sending Miriam Dunn photos of their packages in the mail. Her story has been featured in international media, including an article in a Russian newspaper and an upcoming feature in an Australian lifestyle magazine.
Miriam Dunn says her tweet has created a “ripple effect,” with many people telling her that they’re now inspired to write letters to their own elderly family members or to reach out to others who may be in need.
“I thought this was going to be another viral tweet,” she said. “I think it’s deeper than that now.”
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