Freshman appears on The Kelly Clarkson Show


courtesy of Peyton Mullins

Freshman Peyton Mullins poses with talk show host Kelly Clarkson after the taping of the show.

Kristin Gooding, Editor in Chief

It’s been a year of extreme highs and extreme lows for freshman Peyton Mullins.

Mullins’s life changed dramatically when her father, Brian Mullins, died unexpectedly from a heart attack on March 9 of this year just a  few days after his 39th birthday. 

“He is my whole world,” Mullins said. “The fact that even though he’s gone, he’s obviously still here, and it gives me reassurance.” 

Brian was a traveler at heart and always wanted to be free so Mullins decided to set him free. She filled a bottle with some of her father’s ashes and added a note that she wrote and note that her grandmother.  The notes explained what was in the bottle and requested that the finder of the bottle contact her grandmother. She included $4 in the bottle just in case it was found in a different country and the person who found it had to make an international call.   

“We got inspiration from a Facebook post where I saw someone else did the message in the bottle, and it went viral,” Mullins said. 

Her cousins were planning a trip to Florida, so they took the prepared bottle and launched it into the Gulf of Mexico near Destin, Fla.  Overnight the bottle travel 20 miles to Miramar Beach, Fla., and end up in the hands of Walton County Sheriff’s Department Sgt. Paula Pendleton, a woman who would change Peyton’s life.

Since there were human ashes in the bottle, the person who found it, called the sheriff’s department, and Sgt. Pendleton went to get it. Sgt. Pendleton, who lost her husband a year ago, was touched by the notes and reached out to Mullins.   Through this message in a bottle, a beautiful friendship has formed.

“She’s my Earth angel,” Mullins said. “We talk a lot, especially through Facebook Messenger. Her father-in-law texted me and said, ‘welcome to your new adopted family.’”

But Mullins‘ story didn’t end there. Sgt. Pendleton’s discovery went viral after the sheriff’s department shared it on social media. Shortly after, Mullins found herself on WFAA Dallas Channel 8 news sharing her story to the DFW area. 

“On WFAA I was really scared at first, but when I got there they were all very welcoming,” Mullins said. “We went up to the studio, and I was like, ‘Wow I see this on TV every night.’” 

After the WFAA interview, new talk show host and singer Kelly Clarkson contacted Mullins and invited her to be on the show. Four days later, Mullins flew to Los Angeles to appear on the Kelly Clarkson show along with Sgt. Pendleton. 

“When I was sharing my story I was unsure about it, but now I want people to know,” Mullins said.  “People feel bad when I talk about it, and I tell them don’t feel bad. I’m sharing this story for a reason.”

Mullins and her grandmother started a Facebook group, “Brian’s Journey,” to share their story and update people on where the bottle has been found. Since the bottle was picked up by Sgt. Pendleton, it has been released again into the ocean and wound up in the hands of a young woman who also lost her father. 

“When he first passed away I was like, I’m the only one going through this,” Mullins said. “But the Facebook group has told me otherwise, showing me I’m not the only one going through this.”

Mullins’ segment on the Kelly Clarkson Show aired Sept. 26.