A 21-year-old man was reunited with the father he hadn’t seen in 13 years in the most amazing way – the 62-year-old dad saved his son’s life.
Benji had reportedly returned home, where his father Phil Baker lives, after being raised for most of his life in England. The young man was kayaking in the ocean when Phil reportedly spotted him and others “desperately paddling” and appearing to be in trouble in the water.
Phil swam out to them in order to help and, without knowing he was his son, scooped up Benji – who was semi-conscious – and carried him to the beach, reports the Mirror.
“I look at his face, and something occurred to me,” Phil said. “Those brown eyes were very familiar.”
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Phil hadn’t seen his son since he was 8, when he and Benji’s mother broke up and she and Benji moved to the U.K. They exchanged emails and Phil visited once in awhile, but they eventually lost touch. Still, he says he recognized his son that very instant.
Benji was kayaking with his girlfriend and an instructor and Phil says he asked them about the man.
“I asked the instructor, ‘What’s his name?’ He replied, ‘Benji.’ In an instant I knew that stranger was my boy,” Phil said. “I checked his breathing and pulse and said, ‘It’s me, your dad. You’re going to be OK.'"
Benji says he also recognized his father immediately. He had planned to meet his father for the first time in years that day and decided to go kayaking to ease his nerves. But as someone with a history of having epileptic fits, Benji began to suffer from one while in the water.
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“It all felt so weird, funny and moving,” Benji said of their unusual reunion in the sea. “But the really peculiar thing is that, as I opened my eyes, it felt quite natural to have my dad there at that moment, even after all that time. It’s like when good friends say they may not have seen each other in years, but when they do meet up it’s like they only saw each other yesterday. And instantly there was no awkwardness. It all just seemed totally normal.”
Benji, who now lives in England with his girlfriend, says he and his father are in contact with one another again and back in each other’s lives.