The people you meet every day
As you go about your daily life, you probably don’t think about the people that you meet. It might be the clerk in your local convenience store or a stranger who stops to ask for directions. Most of us don’t realize that these people can shape our existence and have the ability to change our lives forever. They could be present for twenty seconds, twenty minutes, or even twenty hours before they’re gone again. Yet, one woman knew that she had to meet one stranger for real.
The woman in question
However, to truly understand this story we need to learn a little more about the woman herself. Her name is Amanda Scarpinati, a 41-year-old mother who has spent the last 40 years of her life searching for someone who had a huge impact on her past, her present, and her future. The human resources manager first rose to our attention in 2015, when news of her mission reached the worldwide media and caused a butterfly effect that would cause everyone to take another look at their own daily interactions…
Going back in time
Although Amanda’s story shocked us all in 2015, her story actually requires us to go back in time to the year of 1977. Amanda was just three months old at the time, but what happened that year would shape her as a person and bring her a huge amount of comfort and pain all at the same time. That’s because Amanda found herself in the hospital during this time. After falling off a couch and into a hot-steam humidifier, the baby was immediately taken to hospital where they could assess her injuries.
As the doctors rushed Amanda into the Albany Medical Center in New York, they inspected the baby to see what they were working with. The heat and the steam had drastically harmed the young child, and she was diagnosed with third-degree burns over much of her body. To try and salvage her appearance as much as possible, Amanda was taken into surgery where she was given numerous skin grafts to cover the affected area. It was going to be a long road to recover, but she was going to be okay.
A normal as possible
Alongside these skin grafts, Amanda was also offered reconstructive surgery throughout her early years. The aim of her doctors and her family was to make her life as normal as possible. There was no way to cover all of her scars or turn back the clock so that she had never been burned, but they did everything they could to make her as comfortable as possible with her appearance. In fact, Amanda was kept under the best care possible during her time in the hospital.
A good team
Yes, the Albany Medical Center provided an incredibly caring team of people who would do anything to ensure that the children and other patients in the hospital had every means to recover. At the time, the nurses’ station was full of qualified men and women who made it their mission to entertain and care for those on their roster. They would give the children company when they needed it, and they would ensure that they were safe and healthy at all times. However, there was one nurse who went above and beyond her station.
The famous photo
While Amanda was staying at the Albany Medical Center, pictures of the patients and the staff were taken to appear in the 1977 annual report. One particular photo showed just how bandaged she was as a youngster. Her burns were covered by gauze and tape, and her head was bandaged up completely. Yet, she wasn’t alone in this famous photo. Amanda was being cradled by a nurse with long hair that was tied up, her nurses uniform, and a caring smile that seemed to reassure the child.
After spending a couple of weeks in the hospital, Amanda was eventually sent home to continue her life as a normal child. Although she was too young to really know what had happened to her, she knew that there was something different about her appearance. As she grew up, she began to question her appearance and why she didn’t look like the other kids around her. She tried to move on from the ordeal, but it became a struggle she had to contend with every single day.
Bullied at school
Things seemed to go from bad to worse for Amanda because her school years would not be kind to her. Although she knew that she looked different, her fellow classmates liked to point it out whenever they were bored or wanted to be entertained. She became the victim of their bullying and began to lose what little self-confidence and self-worth that she had left. She struggled to come to terms with her appearance enough as it was, without the addition of their mocking and name-calling.
School was a tough time for Amanda, but she soon discovered a way to make herself feel better. Her family had kept the old black and white photographs of Amanda when she was a baby in the hospital. They showed her bandaged up and in the care of the hospital workers, and there was even the photo of her being cradled by the nurse. Seeing these pictures for herself made Amanda realize how far she had come, and the caring nature of the nurse always cheered her up.
Talking to her
However, Amanda didn’t just look at the photographs. When she was having a really tough time at school, she would find solace in talking to the photograph as if she knew who the nurse was, as if they were having a real conversation. Amanda had no idea who the woman was or how long she had nursed her back to health, but she knew that she was a lovely person. She could tell by the way that she was cradling her. She had this woman to thank for so much.
Coming of age
Amanda continued to pine over this photograph for much of her teenage years, and when she finally got to her 18th birthday, she made a deal with herself. She was going to find the woman in the picture no matter how hard it was. She would find out who she was, how long she worked there, and she would thank her for everything she did for her when she was a baby and afterward. However, Amanda soon realized it wasn’t going to be as easy as she first thought, as the woman no longer worked at the Albany Medical Center.
A decade later
Although the woman tried to find her savior for the next few years, she just didn’t have any luck. She had no name to go on and had absolutely no information about the woman. All she had was a photograph – and that wouldn’t help her find any answers. As a decade passed in her search to find the nurse, Amanda began to lose hope. She wondered whether she would ever find the woman and almost gave up, but then she had another idea. She was going to give social media a go.
Posting the photo
In September 2015, Amanda made the decision to reach out on social media. It would be her last attempt at finding the woman before she gave up for good – and she had very little hope. Despite this, she posted the photos that she had of the woman from the hospital on Facebook and wrote a caption underneath. She explained her story to her friends, and she made her post public just in case anyone wanted to share it. She then went to bed but awoke the next morning to a barrage of notifications.
Amanda had not expected to wake up to any notifications regarding her Facebook post, so she was amazed to see that she had more than she could count. Over the course of 24 hours, her post became a viral sensation and was shared by an extraordinary number of people. To this day, the post now has almost 2,000 shares – and it was thanks to this that Amanda was able to receive her first clue. In fact, her journey changed when she received a message from a woman called Angela.
Had a name
As Amanda read Angela’s message, she couldn’t believe what she was reading. Angela was scrolling through Facebook when she saw the shared post, and she immediately knew who the woman was. After all, she had worked with the nurse while she was also working as a nurse at the Albany Medical Center. Angela confirmed that the woman was called Susan Berger and that she was just as caring as she looked in the picture. She also confirmed that she had later moved away to the Syracuse area.
Meeting in person
Finally, Amanda had a name! She could put a name to the face of the woman she had been staring at for almost 40 years of her life, and the proper search could begin. It didn’t take long for Amanda to find Susan Berger, and she immediately sent her a message. After numerous exchanges, the pair decided to meet up – but they couldn’t just meet at a coffee shop or a shopping mall. Instead, they had to meet where it all began. They had to meet at the Albany Medical Center.
When the day came, Amanda felt incredibly emotional. She had been thinking about this woman for most of her life, and she had helped her get through her day more times than she could count. She was over the moon to be able to see Susan for her very eyes and hug her just like she did when she was a baby. In fact, Amanda couldn’t help but run up to Susan and hug her. In a later interview, she noted that hugging Susan was like hugging her mom.
One of her firsts
However, Amanda soon realized that she wasn’t the only one to be overwhelmed by the situation. Susan had thought of the baby with third-degree burns for much of her career. She was fresh out of college at 21 years old when she took the job at the Albany Medical Center, and Amanda was one of her first patients. Because of that reason, Amanda was more memorable than most. Yet, there was another reason why Amanda was so much more memorable than her other patients.
Calm and collected
At the time, Susan couldn’t get over just how calm and collected Amanda was. She had suffered horrific burns, she had been in and out of surgery, and she must have been in a huge amount of pain. Yet, Amanda never cried or grumbled about her situation. Susan had never seen this in a child before and was both bemused and impressed. Because of this, she was happy to sit and cradle the young child for as long as she needed before she fell asleep.
One to remember
Amanda’s story is one that has resonated with people across the world, and her post on Facebook has since garnered more and more attention as the years have gone by. For the most part, people are over the moon that Amanda was finally reunited with the woman that had helped her all of those years ago. However, people also feel deeply connected to this story – because you never know how just one person might change your life for the better. You might not even know their name, but they have an impact. In fact, you could be that person for someone else…