Traveller spends $150K to reunite with stolen parrot
It was a reunion unlike anything most Jamaicans could imagine when Ron Rico came home last Saturday. After all, he had been missing for more than two weeks, and boy, was Dauphin Miller happy!
In a post on Ron Rico's Instagram page, Miller said: "It's a great day today on-board S/V Monarch. We are a flock once again. Seventeen days MIA and last night Rico arrived from Kingston Town by taxi @19:30 hours. Anyway Rico is back and cost me over $1,200.00USD (J$147,600) for recovery, ad campaigns, phone calls plus bounty hunter! What's the saying bull$%@% walks & money talks! Thanks once again for everybody support."
Oh, by the way, Ron Rico is a bird, a Red-Lored Green Amazon Parrot that was stolen from a yacht docked at the Errol Flynn Marina in Port Antonio, Portland, and Miller is its owner.
The Miller family had left the bird alone aboard the vessel to go visit the town and found it was missing on their return.
Extreme and unconventional
Disheartened by their loss, the family had gone to extreme and unconventional methods to find their beloved family member.
"I would search around town, asked a lot of people about the bird, I had a picture of him and everything. I started running an ad in the newspaper and I had some photos of the bird and I went to the Yellow Pages for all the pet stores, for all the veterinarians, all the police stations that had email," Miller told The Gleaner.
This was after a print ad offering a reward had failed to achieve the desired result, despite its wording as follows:
"Rico the Parrot...Red-Lored Green Amazon Parrot. I live on-board a 45ft Sailing Yacht, I have 2 year's of sea time on-board with my Mom & Dad. Someone has taken me from my parents. Please help me get home. For safe return no questions asked. Reward $600.00USD."
After more than two weeks, Miller upped the reward to US$1,000 and did some investigations of his own, which found the bird had been taken by men in the Port Antonio market and trafficked to Kingston. People who shared this information were afraid to take up the reward offer despite the repeated assurance that no questions would be asked.
Eventually, however, they took a chance and the prize bird was returned, much to the delight of its owners, who responded this way to the question, 'Was it worth it?'
"Oh, yes, sir, because he's quite a famous bird. He's been with us over two years and he lives aboard our sailboat with us. He's like a family member."
For the Millers, who've been cruising aboard their yacht for the past five years, this was the first time this had happened, and as they head back to The Bahamas en route to their home base in the United States, they have vowed never again to leave Ron Rico alone on-board whenever they dock.