In 2000, a 7-year-old boy from Idaho sent a Christmas charity box to the Philippines. 15 years later this action turned into a beautiful love story that sounds like something out of a romantic movie. But it’s real and you can enjoy it now.
Bright Side tells the story of Tyrel and Joana who met thanks to a simple shoebox.
18 years ago, Tyrel Wolfe took part in a charity project called Operation Christmas Child. The sender was supposed to send different school supplies, small toys, a letter, and their photo in a small shoebox. The boy chose his cowboy picture, put it inside the box, and the parcel was sent to the Philippines. Tyrel had already forgotten about this situation, but in 2009 he received a friend request on Facebook from Joana Marchan. At the time Tyrel neither accepted nor rejected the request.
Months later, he finally decided to accept the request because he was curious about who this girl from the other side of the world was. Joana told him about how she received his shoebox. She even sent him a letter to thank him but somehow the letter never arrived to Tyrel’s home. The boy asked his mom to confirm whether it was true or not, and his mother remembered the gift. Tyrel and Joana continued talking to each other on Facebook.
Later, they figured out that they had a lot in common and decided to meet each other. Tyrel saved up enough money and bought a ticket to Manila. He was really nervous because he’d never traveled alone but Joana met him at the airport and they fell in love with each other.
Tyrel was shocked by the conditions Joana’s relatives had to live in. All 8 family members used to sleep on the floor in a small lodge. The couple spent 10 days together and they didn’t know when they were going to see each other again. Tyrel promised Joana he would come back and he kept his promise.
When Tyrel came again, he asked Joana’s father for permission to marry his daughter. Her father blessed their marriage but her mother was against it: she said they were too young to get married. Then Tyrel’s father arrived in Manila and managed to convince her. Their wedding was held at Tyrel’s parents’ ranch. Tyrel wore a barong, the traditional shirt worn by Filipino grooms, and Joana wore a simple white dress. The bride’s parents couldn’t attend because of visa issues and now the couple wants to have one more ceremony in the Philippines.
The international humanitarian project was set up in 1993 and 113 million shoeboxes were sent to 130 countries before Tyrel met Joana. Now, they continue sending gifts together. A few years ago, the couple gave birth to a beautiful baby. You can watch the video here where they tell their story. They don’t even try to hide their tears of joy.
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