A father who did not change his phone number for 20 years in the hope that his biological daughters would one day track him down was finally able to reunite with them after more than three decades apart.
Alex Martinez, 53, who lives in Las Vegas, Nevada, had always hoped that his daughters Victoria, 31, and Veronica, 33, would one day be able to find him, having lost all hope of getting in touch with them himself.
The 53-year-old left the pair’s lives when they were just babies, and over the years that followed, Victoria and Veronica knew very little about the life their father had gone on to live.
When Victoria was around 10, she and Veronica discovered a picture of Alex, but they were put off trying to find him for decades, conflicted about whether he would even want to meet them.
For Alex, the feelings were the same: he spent years looking for and wondering what had happened to Victoria and Veronica, but concerns also persisted about whether they would hate him for not being in their lives.
When Victoria heard through the grapevine that Alex had been hoping to find them, though, she took this as a sign to look into his contact details.
She spent $20 to gain access to a website with contact information, sent Alex a text, and was elated when he responded with the same enthusiasm she had.
He also revealed that he had not changed his phone number in 20 years, hoping that his daughters would one day be able to find him.
Victoria, who lives in Winston Salem, North Carolina, told Veronica, who lives in Birmingham, Alabama, and the pair started talking to their father over the days that followed.
Then the sisters planned to fly to Harry Reid International Airport in Las Vegas, where they were able to meet Alex in person for the first time in 31 years.
As they came down the escalator, family members captured the moment on video when they headed over to Alex for a long-awaited hug.
That footage has caused many viewers to be brought to tears, Victoria said.
Going forward, she and Veronica plan to see their dad as often as is financially possible, given that he lives on the other side of the country in Kingman, Arizona.
The sisters have also continued to chat with Alex regularly, making up for lost time.
Speaking of that first meeting, Victoria said: “Oh my gosh – it felt so welcoming and complete.
“Ever since the first phone call we had, I had been aching to hug him.
“We hugged, cried, and giggled with happiness.
“He whispered to us during the hug, ‘I’m here for you now.’
“He was just so sweet and fatherly, and you could see his pride for us in his eyes.
“I love hearing people say that we look just like him and how sweet it was that we were holding hands walking.
“Several others have said they were inspired to connect more with their birth parents or just family in general.
“That means a lot because we are big on the importance of family; and if this can impact even just one person to reconnect with a family member, that’s amazing.”