Man Reunites with Nurse Who Touched His Life 40 Years Ago

“Some people come and go and are forgotten. But there are other people who share a part in our destinies. They come, they go, but they are never forgotten”

― C. JoyBell C.

At Vulcan Park in Birmingham, Gary Bentley of Alabama and his nurse Kathy Henricks reunited after over 40 years. Gary was a patient at UAB and Kathy was a nurse who showed him love and kindness in the darkest hours of his life.

Gary is different from the other kids back then. He had a rough childhood with his alcoholic, abusive father, foster homes, and serious medical condition. But there was this person that made a great impact in his life, the woman who took care of him after his open heart surgery at UAB Hospital in 1973 at the tender age of 10.

Throughout his life, he says he never overlooked the young nurse named Kathy who helped him through those difficult times.

“She was so sweet to me at a time in my life when I really needed someone to show me that there were good people out there that cared and wanted to help,” Gary told

For so long he didn’t know his nurse’s last name. And with the help of his wife, Gwen, it brought a story about Gary’s search for his nurse went up on on Thursday. The story has also inspired a hashtag―#NurseKathy.

With only a possible first name, date, location, and the photo, nothing is impossible with today’s social media and the power of Facebook. Kathy found out Gary was eager in looking for his nurse way back then to show his deepest gratitude.

And on Sunday, after 40 years, Gary was reunited with the woman whom he thought is his greatest companion during his traumatic childhood all those years ago.

Together with his wife and family, Gary brought a handful of things with him that Sunday afternoon. He had a bouquet of flowers, too, and a framed photo of himself and the nurse, the only real piece of information he had to identify her.

“I am nervous,” Gary said. “It’s hard not to cry. The tears, I have to hold them back. I’m just excited.”

Image courtesy of
Image courtesy of

When nurse Kathy arrived at Vulcan Park around 3:30 in the afternoon, they both welled up and embraced for what seemed the longest minute in their lives.

“I’ve never forgotten,” he told her as they embraced.

[quote_left]”The fact that anybody would go to the depths that he did to try to locate me, to thank me, it was just incredible…”[/quote_left]

Gary gave Kathy the flowers and the framed photo of the two of them together, and tried to thank her for showing him kindness when he needed it the most.

“The fact that anybody would go to the depths that he did to try to locate me, to thank me, it was just incredible,” Kathy told

This inspiring story drew attention to the world that often overlooks the work nurses do every day. It only reminds us that there are so many ‪#‎NurseKathy‬ nurses out there! They may not get nearly enough credit for their angelic works, but there is one thing that means more than any attention ― nurses make a difference.

Gil Wayne ignites the minds of future nurses through his work as a part-time nurse instructor, writer, and contributor for Nurseslabs, striving to inspire the next generation to reach their full potential and elevate the nursing profession.

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