After his wife died of cancer, a Scottish man named Craig Sullivan took to searching for a new soulmate by casting 2,000 message-filled bottles into various bodies of water around the UK, a desperately romantic act inspired by The Police song “Message in a Bottle.” Unfortunately for Sullivan, his SOS to the world has been viewed as an unsightly heap of trash by his fellow beachgoers, who asked him to stop.
According to the Telegraph, visitors to Britain’s Rhossili Bay, where Sullivan did some of his casting, were concerned the bottles were harming the wildlife and further polluting the waterways. One such critic was Helen Gill, who told the paper:
“I went for a beach walk and we came across about 30 glass bottles with lids. They had lots of messages inside about finding love. It’s may be romantic, but what is it doing to the environment?”
Far from being a potential soulmate, Gill actually penned her own message to Sullivan asking him to knock it off, writing:
“Those bottles could be smashed before they land on our precious beach or stepped on.
“I would ask you to think of another more environmentally friendly way of carrying on with your campaign. When visiting our beaches you should leave only footprints.”
Sullivan wrote in a Medium post that while the specifics of his plan were inspired by The Police, the idea more generally came to him after reading Amy Krause Rosenthal’s heartbreaking New York Times essay, “You May Want to Marry My Husband.”
“I wondered what my own wife might have written, before the big C took her away from our family nearly 18 months ago,” Sullivan wrote.
Sullivan stopped casting the bottles on orders from the Scottish Environment Protection Agency after releasing about 200 of them into a river. He told the BBC that it was never his goal to cause any trouble, but rather “to send a wee love bottle with a message to someone I had not yet met.”
Before you feel too bad for Sullivan, though, know that 50 women have already lined up to meet him. Get it, Craig.