40 Years Ago She Was His Angel, Social Media Sets Up Their Emotional Reunion
FaithTap Staff 10/2/2015
Growing up with an abusive father wasn't the biggest problem facing Gary when he was a child. Gary was also living with a hole in his heart, then meeting a special person changed his life forever.
10-year-old Gary entered the UAB Hospital in 1973 for surgery after the state separated him and his six siblings from their violent, alcoholic father. He had a hole in his heart and it needed to be mended quickly.
Facebook/Alabama Turtle Farmer
The initial surgery went smoothly, but two years later another hole appeared and he was forced to head back to the hospital for surgery. That's when Gary met his angel of a nurse, named Kathy.
Gary recalls his impressions of Kathy in an interview with
"She was so sweet to me at a time in my life when I really needed someone to show me that there were good people out there that cared and wanted to help,"
But shorty after his surgery, Gary was moved to a different floor where Kathy did not work. Gary was devastated and thought of his angel often.
In fact, the memory of Kathy lived with him for years until he finally decided to try to find her using social media.
He only had a first name, vague date of employment, location of the hospital, and the iconic photo of the pair standing side by side.
Gary's use of the Internet paid off. One of Kathy's college roommates came across the photo online and immediately reached out to Kathy who explained her feelings to AL.com.
"The fact that anybody would go to the depths that he did to try to locate me, to thank me, it was just incredible, I just can't imagine."
With the help of Kathy's internet-savvy daughters, a meeting was arranged.
Gary was finally reunited with the angel who looked after him in his time of need. Needless to say, it was an emotional event for everyone involved. They embraced each other tightly and the memories started flooding back to the pair.
They discussed Gary's health, their respective families and the future. A future that's possible, in part, due to a kind-hearted nurse with an incredible drive to help this young, hurting boy.
When it was finally time to say goodbye, the tears started flowing. Gary gave Kathy the photograph of them standing in the hospital together nearly 40 years ago.
When Kathy looks at that picture from here on out, she will see the love that grew from this special relationship and a healthy, happy man with his own family and a hole-free heart.