Sunday, 11/26/2023

Unlikely Love Stories

People often say that love turns up in the unlikeliest of places or that love will serendipitously find you when you least expect it. In some love stories, those old cliches couldn’t be more accurate.

Consider, for example, the story of Gordon MacDonald. Gordon was working in a grocery store in Canada when he opened a case of pineapple juice that had been shipped from the distant Philippines. Intriguingly, nestled within the case, hidden among the containers of juice, he discovered a handwritten message. The only thing written on it was ‘pen pal wanted.’

Despite the fact that the date marked on the correspondence said that it had been written nearly a year prior, Gordon decided to go out on a limb and write back. He wanted the mysterious note writer to know where their letter ended up. So he sent his reply across the world to the Philippines.

A few weeks later, Gordon’s message arrived at the residence of a woman named Gilda Feliciano. Gilda had been working at a pineapple juice manufacturing facility when she surreptitiously placed her initial message in a crate of the juice product. She hadn’t expected anything to come of it, but she sent Gordon a Christmas card to let him know she had received his letter.

The Christmas card sparked a two-and-a-half-year correspondence. Initially, they exchanged written notes on a weekly basis. Then they escalated to daily exchanges. Their daily letters turned into long phone calls and, eventually, a marriage proposal. In 1982, Gordon flew to the Philippines to marry Gilda. Remarkably, they are celebrating their 33rd anniversary, all due to a fortuitous crate of pineapple juice.

Alternatively, consider the story of Paolina and Ake Viking. In 1955, Ake was a Swedish sailor on a long trip at sea when he dropped a message in a bottle overboard. Eventually, the bottle washed ashore in Sicily, Italy, where a fisherman found it and took it to his daughter as a joke. His daughter, Paolina, astounded that the bottle had made it so far, wrote back to Ake. Soon, the two were exchanging letters and photographs and falling in love. In 1958, Ake traveled to Sicily to marry Paolina.

These two distinctive love stories just go to show that true love really can strike anywhere.



  • turn up: to appear unexpectedly or randomly
  • pen pal: a person with whom one regularly exchanges letters, usually someone in another country whom one has not met
  • go out on a limb
    1. to say something that lacks support,
    2. to take a risk
  • end up: eventually arrive at, become or happen
  • come of it: the result or consequence that arises from a previous action or situation
  • let someone know: to tell or inform someone about something
  • goes to show: demonstrates or proves

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