Friday night, as we closed up the office, Gulfportian Carole Gabrio called me to tell me a land turtle was loose in Tomlinson Park. The tortoise, she was sure, was a pet. We called and left a message with the Hughes family, who have a large bale of turtles, thinking it likely escaped from their home.
At home, I walked over to the park, where a large sulcata was lapping the park perimeter. A small group had started following it, and Rebekah Sullivan and her son Jameson pulled up and promised to get the turtle (all tortoises are turtles but not all turtles are tortoises) back to the Hughes family.
“We’ve rescued him before,” she said.
One problem: This large, enthusiastic tortoise didn’t belong to the Hughes’ creep of tortoises. They agreed to keep him safe until the owner came forward.
Thanks to the magic of Gulfport and social media, Teresa Bohannon and her son were reunited with him – we know now his name is Sheldon – the next morning.