We often hear people say "it's a small world," but we sometimes fail to realize just how much everyone on this earth are connected until we come across a story like Vilma Wong and Brandon Seminatore's.
Twenty-eight years ago, Vilma, a nurse, was working a shift on April 19, 1990, when Brandon was born prematurely at 29 weeks at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital Stanford in Palo Alto, California.
Vilma was assigned as Brandon's primary care nurse during that crucial time. For 40 days, he had to placed in an incubator with a breathing machine, but the doting nurse made sure the little boy got all the special care he needed to eventually go home.
Before the Seminatores left the hospital, they took a photo with Vilma. Over the years, Brandon's parents would show him the photograph and talk about the NICU nurse that cared for him so well.
Little did Brandon know that decades later, fate would make them cross paths again.
Recently, the 28-year-old started working as a second-year medical resident at the same hospital. Brandon is hoping to become a child neurologist at the end of his training, but what he didn't expect was to be colleagues with the nurse who took care of him all those years ago.
The hospital shared Brandon and Vilma's special reunion on their Facebook page a few weeks ago, and the heartwarming moment has since gone viral.
While Brandon's parents brought up the possibility of Vilma still working at the hospital, Brandon was convinced that she retired and never bothered to look for her. It was Vilma who recognized his name while he was doing a mandatory check-in at the nurse's station.
"I asked who he was and his last name sounded very familiar,” Vilma said in a statement from the hospital. "I kept asking where he was from and he told me he was from San Jose, California, and that, as a matter of fact, he was a premature baby born at our hospital. I then got very suspicious because I remember being the primary nurse to a baby with the same last name.’"
To confirm that he was the same Brandon Seminatore she once helped, Vilma asked if his father was a police officer.
"...there was a big silence and then he asked me if I was Vilma. I said 'yes,'" she recalled. "I was in shock initially but overjoyed to know that I took care of him almost 30 years ago, and now he's a pediatric resident to the same population he was part of when he was born."
Brandon called his unexpected encounter with Vilma a "surreal experience," before adding that he knows Vilma "cares deeply for her patients, to the point that she was able to remember a patient’s name almost three decades later. Not all of us will get the chance to see our patients grow up, and I was so happy to be able to share that moment with her."
Brandon also noted that he has "come full circle" now that he is "taking care of babies with the nurse that took care of me...This story is for families with children who have had a rough start in life. I want to give them hope."
As for Vilma, she told The Mercury News that as a nurse, it's kind of like your reward," to see a baby like Brandon grow up and be in the position that he is in today.