Stories

A boy meets his rescuer — 25 years later

Robin Barton should have died 25 years ago. That was the fate his mother condemned him to when she threw the newborn infant into the garbage in 1989. Instead, an extraordinary stroke of luck diverted Robin’s path.  

Santa Ana, California, police officer Michael Buelna was patrolling the neighborhood and thought he heard something strange coming from behind a dumpster. He expected to find a cat at the most. But then  as he rummaged through the trash following the noise, he uncovered a baby — still attached to the umbilical cord and coated with fluids from the birth, debris, and gravel.

“I could tell it still reacted when I tried to give it some air,” recalled Michael.

The baby had been born four hours earlier, weighing in at only four lbs. After Michael brought the infant to the hospital, his mother was soon tracked down: a 19-year-old girl so frightened that she had abandoned him. She ended up being sentenced to three years in prison for child endangerment and attempted murder. 

Robin was soon adopted by Elizabeth Barton and Daniel Fernandez, who gave him not just his name but a safe environment and loving family. This baby would get a second chance at life.

Only when Robin was 25 years old did his parents reveal the secret of his birth and rescue to him. The moment he heard about this police officer he knew he had to track him down so he could thank him in person. 

Michael Buelna had since retired but they found him and went to visit him. It turned out that the officer himself had been abandoned as a child, along with several siblings, spending years in foster homes. It must have been particularly touching for him to see that Robin had been cared for and turned out so well.

When the local news broadcasted the story, the man who had had an affair with that 19-year-old so many years ago came out of the woodwork: Robin’s biological father wanted to meet him as well. Through him, Robin learned that his biological mother had moved to Mexico after getting out of prison. He reached out to her and is hoping to meet in person soon.

“I am not angry or annoyed with her, and I forgive her because she was a young woman in a very compromising position,” he said, showing quite an empathetic heart.

If it hadn’t been for Michael’s sharp ear and good instincts that fortuitous discovery might never have happened. But luckily, Robin was found and has clearly grown into a generous, thoughtful person. Sometimes things do work out the way they’re “supposed” to!