Is there such a thing as fate? It’s an age-old question that a lot of people can’t seem to agree on. But there are two young women in college in California whose incredible story may actually have the power to convince the doubters. Indeed, the tale has more than its fair share of serendipity.
Those women, moreover, are Nissma Bencheikh and Roaya Jannatipour. They first met as pre-meds at the University of California, Berkeley, upon which they instantly hit it off and became close friends. And the two freshmen even have a lot in common. For instance, not only are they both studying the same subject, but they also learned that they share a lot of similarities when it comes to their histories and backgrounds.
In particular, Bencheikh and Jannatipour discovered that they are both of Canadian and Moroccan descent – an unusual combination, and one which, as it turned out, brought the pair even closer together. The two women became such tight buddies, in fact, that they decided to become roommates during their sophomore year.
And when it was time to move into their new home, Bencheikh enlisted the help of her father to get the apartment sorted. The girls were understandably excited for another year of college as best friends. Then Jannatipour decided to FaceTime her mother – which is when the two students made an amazing discovery.
And while the pre-meds knew that they already had a pretty special bond, perhaps nothing could have prepared them for what they learned about each other that day. It all started when Jannatipour introduced her mom to Bencheikh’s dad during the video call. Then, slowly, the pieces of the puzzle began falling into place.
According to Bencheikh, the respective parents only talked for a couple of minutes; that proved to be long enough, though. Then, when the FaceTime session was over, Bencheikh’s father turned to Jannatipour and asked her one question. But, secretly, the delighted dad already knew the answer to his query.
Specifically, he asked Jannatipour what her father’s name was. And the young woman’s reply confirmed that the two sophomores were at the center of a most amazing coincidence. Indeed, it turned out that when the college friends had first met, they were far from being the total strangers they had initially thought that they were.
For a start, Bencheikh’s father knew Jannatipour’s parents very well indeed. He had even recognized his daughter’s roommate’s mom during the video call. That was because he had been enrolled at McGill University in Montreal, Canada, with her husband 18 years previously. But that was only the start of the extraordinary connection between them all.
For instance, the sophomores’ parents had already developed very close relationships with one another. In fact, the two families had been neighbors in Montreal all those years ago, and the moms had become particularly close. As with the pre-meds, Bencheikh’s mother Naima and Jannatipour’s mother Saida had been best of friends.
What’s more, the two moms had also been at college together. Naima and Saida had even fallen pregnant during the same time frame, carrying Bencheikh and Jannatipour, respectively. Unfortunately, the Montreal best friends were then separated by thousands of miles when the two families moved away from Canada.
Bencheikh and her family would subsequently relocate to Virginia, while Jannatipour and her clan ended up on the other side of the U.S. in Irvine, California. And because of the 2,000-mile distance between the two locations, the families sadly lost touch. But then an amazingly fortuitous twist of fate took place more than ten years later. That is, Naima and Saida’s daughters would randomly meet as freshmen at Berkeley and become fast friends – all while oblivious of their shared past.
“Turns out Roaya and I’s families were best friends and neighbors in Montreal, Canada, 16 years ago,” Bencheikh tweeted at the time of the amazing discovery. And the two sophomores couldn’t believe that they had known each other for a year and yet not already discovered their incredible connection.
Even more unbelievable is the fact that there are baby pictures of the two girls playing together in Canada all those years ago. So it transpired that the two students hadn’t met each other for the first time at Berkeley at all. They had known each other very well before college, in fact; they just simply didn’t remember that.
It’s worth noting, though, that both Bencheikh and Jannatipour very nearly didn’t go to the same college at all. Indeed, the option to attend the University of California, Berkeley, was a last-minute decision for both women. And after the best friends had discovered this and the other amazing coincidences, they decided that there was only one thing for it – they had to reunite their moms.
So, with the help of ABC News, the two students organized what was bound to be a very sentimental journey. And while neither Bencheikh nor Jannatipour had told their moms why they had flown them individually to New York City, it wasn’t long before the big surprise was revealed.
The filmed report broadcast in August 2017 shows Bencheikh sat on a wall in Central Park with her mom Naima. Meanwhile, Jannatipour and her mom, Saida, approach them, after which an ABC News presenter re-introduces the unsuspecting women to each other. And the former best friends can’t contain their shock when they first recognize each other.
Then Naima and Saida squeal, cry and hug each other tight after years apart. Shrieks of “Oh my God” and “I missed you” are repeated as the two overjoyed women are filmed coming to terms with what is going on. It had been 16 years since they had last seen each other.
Bencheikh’s mom then tells the presenter how she and Jannatipour’s mom had been the closest of friends when they both lived in Canada. “She’s like my sister. She’s my best friend and my family,” Naima says, overcome at the emotional reunion. In response, Saida cries, “The whole family is together!”
And Naima and Saida’s heartwarming reaction to seeing each other again after so long goes to show how close they really were. What’s more, the best friends have plans to keep their friendship going by staying in contact and visiting each other in the future.
“When you have such a deep, profound connection with somebody, that’s something no-one ever wants to lose… So being able to rekindle that… It’s just going to be very sentimental for them,” Jannatipour said of the incredible reunion. And whether you believe in fate or not, it’s hard to deny that the students’ story is a heartwarming one.