LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A helium balloon helped reunite two long-lost cousins thanks to the help of some Kentucky highway workers.
According to Keith Todd, a spokesman for the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, the reunion happened in mid-September.
Todd says Hickman County Highway Superintendent Tommy Ingrum and a co-worker were making the rounds when they saw a balloon with what appeared to be a card hanging from it in a fence row along the roadway.
"We were driving along Kentucky 1529 checking on some maintenance projects when we spotted the balloon, so we stopped to pick it up," Ingrum said, according to the news release. "When we read the note and saw it had contact information and a phone number, we thought it would be interesting to respond."
The note was from Michelle Boisseau, who had released the balloon from her driveway in New Athens, Illinois. She had purchased the balloon to see how far it would go, and she put the note in a plastic freezer bag and attached it to the balloon.
Ingrum sent Boisseau a text message at 9:25 a.m. the day after she launched the balloon. Ingrum told her he had found the balloon 170 miles to the south, near Clinton, Kentucky.
But as Ingrum and Boisseau continued to communicate, they started to realize that they shared relatives. Boisseau said she had family in Clinton, Kentucky.
They soon realized they were second cousins.
"I was amazed," Boisseau said.
She later traveled to Clinton and the two leafed through family photo albums, excited to pick up on family resemblances.
Oddly, Ingrum found the balloon on the anniversary of his mother's death.
"My mother died 27 years ago, so there's been a bit of a disconnect with extended family members," Ingrum said, according to the news release. "I may have other relatives I've never met out there someplace."
"I'm glad I got a chance to meet people -- family that I didn't even know I had," Ingrum said, in a statement. "It's pretty incredible, and all because of a balloon."
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