When Azita Milanian decided to go for a jog near her California home in 1998, she didn’t know that the decision would save a child’s life.
Milanian was running with her dogs down a remote path when one of them stopped to scratch at the dirt.
She soon spotted two small feet sticking out of the ground and heard a baby’s cry, the Los Angeles Times reports.
She quickly unburied the little boy, who still had his umbilical cord attached, and cleared the dirt from his face. Milanian said she begged him not to die:
“Please don’t die. I will never leave you. I love you.”
The baby boy was taken to a hospital where he was treated for severe hypothermia. His body temperature had decreased to just 80 degrees.
Doctors were able to bring him back to good health and gave him the name Christian.
Milanian was told she wasn’t allowed to see him again after he’d been adopted out to a family — but she spent 20 years waiting.
And on Wednesday, she was finally united with 20-year-old Matthew Christian Whitaker.
The two appeared on “On Air with Ryan Seacrest” after a producer caught wind of Whitaker’s story and tracked down Milanian.
Through tears, she told the man whose life she saved:
“I was waiting for you for 20 years.”
Whitaker hugged her and thanked her for saving his life all those years ago.
According to the Los Angeles Times, the duo later returned to the spot where she’d found him during her jog. It brought up some difficult emotions for Whitaker.
“This could have been my grave.”
Whitaker said he was adopted into a good family and grew up playing volleyball. He didn’t know he was adopted until he was 17 and only recently found out the sad story of his discovery.
He said of his biological family:
“If this was your best idea, to leave me here, then thanks, because you weren’t mentally fit to raise a child.”
After their reunion, Whitaker invited Milanian to attend his graduation from University of Arizona.