It’s not often that we stumble into a situation that offers us the chance to save someone’s life. Miraculously though, these types of events still do happen and oftentimes when they do, they come only by chance or fate.
In the following story, such fate saved the life of a baby boy. And after two decades, he got to meet the person who saved him so long ago…
Going For A Run
It was 1998 in California when Azita Milanian, an Altadena resident, got an invitation to go dancing. Instead of joining her friends on the dance floor however, Azita felt like doing something else and decided to go for a run with her dog Tango. After slapping on her jogging shoes and grabbing Tango’s leash, the pair headed for the trail.
Something In The Dirt
Nothing out of the ordinary occurred until Tango sniffed around a patch of dirt. Azita could tell that the earth had been disturbed in that particular spot, indicating that something was buried there. When she got closer it appeared to be some sort of small animal. But before she dismissed it as such, she heard a cry…
To her horror, Azita inched closer to the patch of dirt and saw two human feet sticking out of it. It was a baby under there, and her instincts took over. Azita began to carefully unearth the child. After a moment she pulled the baby, who was wrapped inside a towel, to freedom…
After freeing the baby’s airways of dirt, allowing the child to breath, it began to cry. Azita immediately called 911, but could not get through. She tried several times before a passerby stopped and offered to help. They contacted the Los Angeles authorities who were soon en-route.
A Touching Moment
Remembering the incident during a 1998 interview, Azita told the Los Angeles Times, “He [the baby] grabbed my wrist and stopped crying….It was very emotional. What kind of sick human would do something like that?”
Rushed To The Hospital
Deputies Harris and Nebel called paramedics for assistance as soon as they arrived. They knew there was no time to spare, as did the paramedics that got there shortly after. After checking his vital signs and body temperature (a dangerously low 80 degrees), the baby was rushed to the hospital…
What Saved Him
The story went public after the baby was taken to Huntington Beach Memorial Hospital, where staff considered the recovery a miracle. Doctors said it was the baby’s small size (a mere 7 pounds 12 ounces), that saved him. When people heard about the child they sent toys, clothes, and other donations.
Azita did not adopt the child because she figured a relative would hear about him in the news. That did not stop her from visiting him at the hospital though, which she did quite often. Finally after a year, someone had adopted the child. Azita was happy, but wanted to do more…
Children Of One Planet
Azita started a nonprofit organization that provides services to orphans around the globe. Meanwhile, police were unable to find the baby’s real parents. The released a statement on their investigation: “We believe the mother may be a scared teenager or young adult that simply did not know what to do.”
Shortly after the statement, the baby’s mother called into the police. She claimed to have given birth to the child and asked if she would face charges. She quickly ended the call only to call a second time, then, after she asked about the boy’s health, hung up again. The LA County Board of Supervisors issued a $5,000 reward for information that would help find the child’s parents.
Matthew Whitaker’s adoptive father was a veteran who worked in law enforcement and his adoptive mother worked in education. For a long time the boy never knew about his remarkable story. It was not until Matthew was a teenager that a relative told him he was actually adopted…
Beginning Of A Reunion
A friend’s mother talked to a radio station about Matthew’s story, then requested a DNA test for the boy to learn more about his past. Matthew took the test and the results were revealed on a program hosted by Ryan Seacrest.
A Proactive Producer
One of the program’s producers, a woman named Patty Rodriguez, found Azita’s 1998 interview with the Los Angeles Times. She was enraptured by the story, and it was her idea to unite Matthew and Azita on the show.
Azita visited Matthew in the hospital for a year waiting for him to be adopted or to be retrieved by his birth parents. She wanted nothing more than for the boy to have a bright future with parents who loved him. So when she got the call to meet him 20 years later, of course she jumped at the chance…
In The Green Room
Azita was nervous as well. Just before the show, as she sat in the green room, she had a bag of clothes she purchased for Matthew. She also had a birthday card for him, with a special message: “Happy Birthday! Baby Christian Mountain Angel Matthew.”
Azita was jogging on a mountain when her and her dog Tango first found Matthew. She always considered it a miracle for both of them. From that day forward she gave him the nickname “Mountain Angel,” and always thought of him that way.
Meeting After 20 Years
The two could not believe it. Azita was in tears. She hugged Matthew and cried into his shirt. She had not seen him since he was a little bundle in an incubator at the hospital. When she found him he was so tiny, crying, and wrapped in a dirty towel. Now he towered above her, an adult, smiling and happy as can be.
Remembering The Experience
After the reunion, the two sat together on the show and the world heard what a special moment it truly was. Azita told the amazing story of that fateful day when she saw his little feet kicking around in the dirt on the mountain. It was an emotional scene to behold…
Later That Day
After the show, the two were not ready to say goodbye. Azita wanted to drive Matthew up the mountain where she originally found him. So they hopped in her car and headed for the hills. When they got there, they walked and talked together near the spot where they first met…
Matthew, who never knew his birth mother, was not bitter about the incident. In a statement about what had happened to him, he actually thanked her: “If this was your best idea, to leave me here, then thanks, because you weren’t mentally fit to raise a child.”