It's a crazy world out there, and none of us really know what we'll encounter or the impact we could have on someone else whenever we leave step out of our homes.
Two decades ago was no different, if you ask Azita Milanian.
In May 1998, the California woman was jogging along a hiking trail in Altadena when one of her dogs made a discovery. Milanian initially thought it was an animal carcass, but nothing could've prepared her for what she was about to see.
“He went after something and I thought it was a dead animal or creature,” she said in an interview at the time. “Then, as I looked deeper in the dirt, I could see it was a child.” She began to frantically dig away at the dirt with her hands. Then, she said, “I screamed. There was a blue towel, and there was a baby in there.”
Turns out, it was a newborn baby, just a few hours old, buried alive.
Unable to reach 911, Milanian ran to get some help by flagging down a motorist, then returned to the site. She proceeded to remove the dirt from the child's nose and mouth as she waited for the police and paramedics to arrive.
"He grabbed my wrist and stopped crying,” she recalled. “It was very emotional. What kind of sick human would do something like that? He still had his umbilical cord hanging from his stomach."
Thanks to Milanian's efforts, the little boy was transported to a nearby hospital for treatment. His body temperature had fallen to 80 degrees, which indicated he was suffering from hypothermia.
Doctors believed it was his size of just over seven pounds that helped him survive. His recovery was said to be "really almost a miracle" by the neonatal director at Huntington Memorial Hospital.
As soon as news about his rescue began to spread, people all over the nation began to send in gifts, clothes, toys, and money.
His mother or whomever left him to die was never found, so the staff named him and then handed him over to Child Protective Services.
There was an agreement that Milanian would be able to keep in contact with the baby, but when she later reached out to child services, she was informed that a family took baby Christian in.
“It was the most frustrating experience,” Milanian told the LA times. “I was hoping that he would find me, the same way we found each other that day.”
Milanian never saw the child again, until now.
The good Samaritan said she always thought about the baby, and "always knew I would find him." She added, "I always knew we’d get together again."
It took some time, but she was right. Christian, who now goes by Mathew Whitaker, and Milanian were finally reunited 20 years to the date of when she found him.
How they found each other again is almost as incredible as their first meeting.
Earlier this year, a woman emailed KIIS FM asking for a 23andMe DNA test for her son's friend, who only found out he was adopted three years earlier. She explained the story to the producers, and one of them happened to have previously read Whitaker's story in a 1998 Times magazine.
After realizing that Whitaker was the same person as the one the woman was talking about, they decided to bring him and Milanian together on the show.
On May 18, 2018, Whitaker and Milanian hugged and talked during a tearful meeting during On Air with Ryan Seacrest.
"I was waiting for you for 20 years,” Milanian told Whitaker. "You’re exactly what I’ve imagined. I guessed your size, everything. Thank you for coming into my life, you changed my life. I knew we were going to connect again. The day I met him he confirmed my faith. God brought us together for a purpose."
For their meeting, she brought along a bag full of clothes and a card with an envelope that read, "Happy Birthday! Baby Christian Mountain Angel Mathew."
"Finally, all my dreams came true," she said.
Milanian shared the story of how choosing to go for a run instead of going going out dancing on a Saturday night saved a life.
Milanian, who runs her own costume design business, said finding Whitaker changed her life and she has been helping orphan children since through a nonprofit she created called Save the Children.
Whitaker revealed that thanks to Milanian and the family that adopted him, he is "here today," and "lived a great life."
On the day of their reunion, Whitaker and Milanian went back to where it all began - the hiking trail. They looked around for a bit, and Whitaker blurted, "This could have been my grave."
“You were wanted," Milanian replied.
Although it was tough to be learn about his start at life, Whitaker says he has no negative feelings about the person who left him buried him.
“If this was your best idea, to leave me here, then thanks. Because you weren’t mentally fit to raise a child,” he said.
Whitaker, who previously attended Santa Monica and El Camino colleges, is now planning to pursue a journalism degree at the University of Arizona.
He's hoping his education will help him make his dream of becoming an entertainment lawyer come true. He is also considering taking up acting, but for now, he's helping Milanian with her nonprofit organization.
“He texts me and we’ve talked a couple times since we met. He says he wants to help me with Save the Children,” Milanian told People. “He’s kind, he’s quiet and reserved.”