Columbia, SC (WLTX)- On Monday everyone celebrated Memorial Day and while many of you paused to remember loved ones, a Vietnamese man was searching for his sister here in the capital city.
"I would like to come here to look for my sister," said 72 year old Sang Thai.
He's been separated from his sister since the Vietnam War nearly 40 years ago.
"I haven't seen her, I miss her," said Thai.
For more than 20 years, Thai actively searched for his long list sibling. Just recently he got a tip she may be living here in Columbia. Last week, Thai left his home in Ontario Canada to make the thousand mile drive. And then with 36 miles to go, it happened.
"His story was just amazing, said Bobby Griffin, a tow truck driver in Newberry.
Call it divine intervention or call it fate, but Thai's car broke down on the interstate and he ended up face to face with tow truck driver Bobby Griffin.
"It's my job to rescue people," said Griffin.
Of all the tow truck drivers AAA could of called on Memorial Day, they sent an angel in disguise. Bobby listened to Thai's story and was so moved by it, he felt compelled to help.
"I told my wife to call you guys and I said, hey let's see what happens."
With the help of the tow truck driver telling us Thai's story we searched for his sister using what everyone uses to look for someone, by searching her name on the internet. We found a number and gave it to Thai.
After a brief conversation Thai tells me that it was his sister.
"They asked me to stay right here. They will come to see me right away," said Thai.
During the Vietnam War, Thai and his sister Ann were both put in communist Re-education camps, which Thai says were more like prisons.
His sister was a student and was released after 10 years but Thai was a ranked officer in the South Vietnam Army and had a longer jail time.
"I had to escape Vietnam for Malaysia. I got three years in the camp and 13years in the prison," said Thai.
From that moment on he never saw his sister again. In 1990 he moved to Canada and for most of his life he still didn't know where his sister was.
The wait was less than 20 minutes but nothing compared to the decades of years waiting for this moment.
I asked, what's the first thing you are going to say to her? Thai replied saying, "I will say I miss her."
Thai continued to patiently wait and then the moment of truth came, the two were reunited.
"I don't think I would ever see him again but today, Memorial Day so surprised," said Ann Thai.
After being separated for 40 years, naturally they had a lot of catching up to do. We caught up with less than 24 hours later and the Thai family was still in shock.
"Last night he called and I said what. It's Sang my brother. Is it true? That's amazing," said Ann.
"That is a miracle, if my car did not break down. I would not see you and I think I could not find her," said Sang.
For Ann and Sang they didn't expect to make it out of prison.
"A lot of one's died in the jungle. Like a little old died in the jungle because they don't have food medicine and clothes," said Ann. "When we were released from the prison we escaped by boat. A small boat, I can say 60% landing. 45% died on the sea."
Ann says many Americans take for granted the cost for freedom but she knows all too well how difficult it was to give her son a better opportunity at life.
"For us the freedom to talk, the freedom to do everything. Even we can talk to the president but in my country no, just talk a little bit for something."
A brother and sister, reunited all because a tow truck driver... answered a call...and had a little faith that miracles could happen.
"I'm beside him, touch him, real thing, this is my brother, look at him. From you, because of you, if my brothers don't see you, how could he find I am here. Maybe he would go back to Canada and not see me. I thank god helped me and help you too."