When a reporter approached David Winkelspecht at a gas station, he had no idea that she was about to change his life forever. After he confessed to the TV crew that he had never met his son, something truly heart-warming happened next.
Winkelspecht enlisted into the army when he was very young, aged just 17. At the time of enrolment he had a baby boy, who was named David after his father. However, Winkelspecht was unable to look after his son as a result of joining the military.
Once Winkeltspecht had completed his time as a soldier, he returned home. But by this point he had lost contact with most of his family, and therefore the connection to his son was gone. With the help of his wife Cynthia Buss-Finley, who has since passed away, Winkelspecht eventually found his son on Facebook – but the two were yet to meet in person.
It’s hard to imagine how you would feel if you were in this utterly heart-breaking situation. But little did Winkelspecht know that a seemingly ordinary stop at a gas station would lead to a series of life-changing events.
Based in Las Vegas, Fox 5 News broadcasts a feature titled Surprise Squad. The clips showcase a reporter helping out various unsuspecting members of the public. These good deeds can include anything from giving out gift cards to paying a grocery store bill.
On this occasion, though, the crew decided to try something different. The usual format involves viewers at home nominating people they know. But this time, reporter Monica Jackson visited a gas station and then asked the show’s Periscope viewers whom they should help.
Using the app, viewers shared their opinions and decided that they wanted Jackson to help the owner of an old slightly beaten white truck. The individual in question was Winkelspecht, who could only afford to fill up his truck with $5 worth of gas.
In the footage of the incident, after being told the good news, Winkelspecht is speechless. But this is only the beginning of the story. Standing next to his truck, which is filled with odd bits of furniture, he opens up to Jackson and makes a heart-breaking confession.
He says, “I’ve never seen my son or my grandchildren. I’m selling all my stuff to go see my son.” Jackson immediately offers Winkelspecht $500, so that he’ll be able to afford a plane ticket to San Diego, where his son lives.
Winkelspecht breaks down and is joined by his wife Buss-Finley, who is inside the car. But the Surprise Squad crew are not finished yet. One member then asks the Periscope viewers if they should buy Winkelspecht’s truck load.
The answer? A resounding yes. It’s clear that this emotional story touched the hearts of many Periscope viewers. Several left comments during the recording, including “I’m gonna cry” and “Omg this is so amazing.”
Winkelspecht then decides to call his son David to let him know what Surprise Squad have done. Speaking to Jackson, his son says, “I’m at a loss for words. This is something I’ve been looking forward to, and I think it’s the piece of the puzzle I need to fill”.
And on the day that Winkelspecht was scheduled to fly to San Diego, Surprise Squad invited him into the studio for a quick chat. But this was no ordinary interview – and what happened next might well have changed Winkelspecht’s life forever.
In the resulting footage, Winkelspecht’s son walks into the studio and is immediately embraced by his tearful dad. After 28 years, this father and son are finally reunited. But if it hadn’t been for the Periscope viewers who chose Winkelspecht, this special moment would never have happened.
The cameras then capture the rest of the family coming on to the set to greet Winkelspecht. He is joined by Buss-Finley, David Jr.’s wife Francis and their two children, a daughter and a son, the latter of whom is also named David.
While embracing his son, an overwhelmed Winkelspecht says, “Oh, what a surprise. Thank you guys, thank all of you, for being able to bring this opportunity for us, and we can be able to live the rest of our lives together.”
Understandably, the father and son and their respective families are visibly emotional. And even Jackson, who is interviewing the pair, talks about how nervous she feels due to the nature of the reunion.
David Jr. says, “The excitement I feel inside, I can’t describe it. It’s something that I’ve longed for my entire life, and I finally got the courage to ask my mom who my father was. And when I did the research and everything, I was at a loss for words that you guys are doing this for us.”
“We’ve got 28 years of history to fill in with each other,” David Jr. continues. “Unfortunately, I’ve got to fly back to San Diego tomorrow morning. But hopefully we can reunite, maybe out there, and fill in the pieces of the puzzle and begin this life-long relationship that we deserve to have together.”
Allowing Periscope viewers to take control led to a life-changing opportunity for this father and son. Although the Surprise Squad presenters are used to bringing smiles to people’s faces, they probably could not have predicted what an emotional story this would be.