FLAGLER BEACH -- A rare find inside a local supermarket; 1 in 30 million to be exact.
It's not unusual to see a tank of lobsters for sale inside your local Publix.
But one crustacean stuck out and a group of people in Flagler Beach are working to save it from the lobster pot.
Little did Marybeth Jeitner realize when she made a weekend trip to the Flagler Beach Publix she'd get caught up in a once-in-a-lifetime project to save a lobster.
It began when she ran into a friend. “He and his wife were busy on their phone as they were shopping so I asked them what they were doing. And they said there's a beautiful rare lobster back in the seafood section. You have to go see it.”
So she did, which is a feat in and of itself because as Jeitner says, “I'm vegan. So I don't ever go to the seafood section.”
Jeitner posted photos on Facebook, asking for help in saving this lobster from someone's dinner table.
Soon, she had hundreds of people offering help, including Heather Chalmers and her daughter Ava Grundvig.
Chalmers saw the pictures and got to Googling. “When we started researching it, and really found out how rare it was, we got concerned too.”
Experts say the difference in this lobster's pigment is caused by a genetic mutation, and that it's a 1 in 30 million genetic anomaly.
So Chalmers volunteered her kitchen and tank and Jeitner bought “Libby” -- short for Liberation -- and began looking for a permanent home.
Perhaps the biggest help in this endeavor has been, of all things, social media, specifically Facebook. Without that, this probably couldn't have happened.
"That is how this has worked,” says Jeitner.
While we were talking, Jeitner got word that a Maine company, GetMaineLobster.com will arrange a return trip to New England while another friend is working with a marine science center in New Hampshire to provide Libby that permanent home. Libby will begin her journey to New Hampshire Wednesday when heads to the UPS facility in Daytona Beach.
For 11-year-old Ava Grundvig, this is a perfect lesson on the good of social media. “What I learned is that when people come together they can do amazing things. I would have never thought I could have had a lobster in my kitchen but with the help from everybody, I mean, it really made everything possible.”
And she's got a heck of a story to write for her "What I Did During Summer Vacation" essay.
Libby will be in New England before the end of the week.