Date
13 December 2017
Of the 476 passengers of the ill-starred ferry, 323 were high school students who most likely used Kakao Talk frequently. Photo: WSJ
Of the 476 passengers of the ill-starred ferry, 323 were high school students who most likely used Kakao Talk frequently. Photo: WSJ

Dad texts teen who died in Korea ferry sinking, gets reply

Nearly a year after losing his young son in one of South Korea’s worst ferry disasters, a man wrote to the boy’s Kakao Talk mobile messaging account.

He got a reply and began a conversation.

When social media got word of the exchange, the news quickly went viral, inspiring an emotional response from netizens, according to the Wall Street Journal.

A screen shot of the conversation quickly spread online after the father, identified only as Mr. Lee, revealed it on Monday.

“How are you? When your dad dies of old age and joins you there, I hope you won’t have forgotten me,” Lee wrote.

Later the same day, he sent another message asking if his son had eaten dinner. About an hour and a half later, a reply came.

“I’m doing fine. Dad, you live a happy life there, too. As I’m really OK, you should take your time and live a healthy life there before coming here. I love you,” it said.

In the conversation, the respondent explained that he happened to take over the mobile number of Lee’s son, one of more than 300 victims of the Sewol ferry sinking in April last year. The number allows access to the chat account.

“I almost thought my son might have returned,” Lee told a Seoul-based television news show.

The stranger asked to remain anonymous, Lee said. 

The story has hit many other local radio and television shows and has prompted an emotional response among some on social media.

“I burst into tears while reading this story on a bus,” wrote Twitter user @badromance65.

The conversation between Lee and the stranger may be set to continue.

“I’m fine if you keep texting me at this number whenever you miss your son,” the stranger wrote.

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FL/RA

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