At age 10, Gary Bentley had to undergo open heart surgery but it isn’t the agony, or the terror he remembers from his hospital stay in 1973.
“There was a nurse when I came out of intensive care,” according to Bentley of Killen, Alabama. “She was on my floor right after I recovered and she was very sweet to me.”
“She brought me little gifts. I don’t really remember what they were, but the one thing she brought was a smile and encouraging words every day. She also played little games with me. I got so attached.”
The staff at the hospital had transferred Gary from Intensive Care to a different unit.
Now at 52 years old, he told ABC News he was unhappy to depart from the nurse who primarily took care for him after his surgery.
“I tried to go back down to see her, but being a kid, they wouldn’t let me,” he said. “We took a photo and I carried that picture through three foster homes. It even made it through a house fire.”
After forty two years since his hospital stay, his wife recommended that he share the photo on Facebook in an effort to find the nurse.
“I said ‘what’s the chances of finding her?’ it’s been 42 years,” he said. “My wife posted it on her page and asked family and friends to share the photos. I was worried that she might not want to be found.”
After almost 7,000 shares on Facebook, a local news site picked up Bentley’s story and just after two days, the nurse was finally located, her name was Nurse Kathy.
“Her daughter emailed us Thursday night and Friday morning we finally made contact,” said Bentley. “We met yesterday at a park. She’s still the same sweet nurse Kathy I remember from years ago.
“We talked about her family and my family, he said of Kathy, who’s still nursing today. “Of course we talked about 42 years ago, we can’t believe it went so fast. Looking at the picture brought tears to both of our eyes. She said she was going to keep it on her desk where she would see it every day. She also said that my family and I made her feel like a princess.”
While Greg said he has not had a scare, he keeps on seeing his specialist every year for heart checkups.
Also, he said that he will forever appreciate the minute that he and Nurse Kathy were once again united.
“She went beyond her job. My dad was a non-functioning alcoholic and when mom left, the state stepped in and took over and me and my siblings away. Nurse Kathy didn’t know about my situation or my home life. She could just tell there was a little boy who needed a smile.”
Presently, Greg Bentley manages his own business breeding turtles in Alabama. He has been married for 34 years and has two children and three grandchildren.