This mother and daughter who didn’t know if they would ever see each other again were reunited in such a unique way that it could only be called an act of pure destiny.
MaryAnn Ontiveros from Chicago was watching the evening news on television, when a certain local report captured her full attention. Soon, tears were streaming down her face.
She was seeing her mother’s face for the first time in 25 years.
The news story showed her mother Shirley Bennett, who was homeless and living with her son Timothy in a dirty shed in a parking lot near the county jail. Inside the jail was her other son, who had a run-in with a police officer who tried to remove the family from the shack two months earlier, according to CBS Chicago.
They’d been living in the shack for five months total, it was almost Christmas, and they had just been told they had to move out that week. Shirley also had a sharp pain in her side that a doctor had previously told her was a tumor. They begged for help from any kindhearted viewers.
“Help me get out of this hole,” Shirley said.
Less than 24 hours later, Shirley and her son were reunited with MaryAnn.
“She’s going home with me,” said MaryAnn.
Over two decades ago, single mother Shirley and her oldest daughter MaryAnn had a disagreement and a falling out, as they both had attempted to care for MaryAnn’s younger siblings.
“I haven’t seen my mother in over 25 years, and I didn’t know where she was,” said MaryAnn. “I started crying. I looked at the TV, and I just couldn’t stop crying.”
“I haven’t seen her in 25 years, and I still love her,” said Shirley, as she also broke down into tears.
One week later, Shirley was in the hospital receiving much-needed medical treatment.
The CBS news report also made its way to other family members. The station received an email from Oregon, saying, “You found my sister…Thank you for reporting this.”
They also received a phone message from Florida. “We have been looking for Shirley since 1982 after our mother had passed, and I’m just so thankful that she’s alive.”