Desperate Mom Leaves Baby In Phone Booth, Decades Later Daughter Reunites With Man Who Rescued Her
Aug 04, 2022 by apost team
Good Samaritans come in all shapes and sizes but the only thing that matters is being in the right place at the right time and, most importantly, doing the right thing. Such was the case in Forest Gate, East London, on the night of April 30, 1994.
That fateful night, a man named Joe Campbell had made his way to a phone booth to make a call to his family in Guyana in the middle of the night due to the time difference. As he approached the booth, he spotted what looked to be trash on the floor.
“As I was walking towards the phone box, I could see what looked like chip wrappers on the floor – it annoyed me that people couldn't pick up their mess,” he said. He received the shock of his life when he went in and discovered it was a newborn baby.
“But just before I got to the door, I realised there was a tiny life form wrapped inside. She was an innocent, sweet little thing, just laying there gargling. As far as I can see, I did what anyone else would have done,” he said, adding, “when I saw it was a little baby, I called 999 and the police came and the ambulance came and that’s when I found out she was just about two hours old.”
It turned out that the baby girl had been abandoned there by her mother, who had already had six other children and was in a highly abusive relationship. Fearing for her safety, she had left the baby in the box before calling social services and fleeing. As fate would have it, instead of the authorities, Campbell was the first to discover the child and said he felt an “instant connection” with her.
What Happened To Kiran?
Campbell opened his arms and handed the baby over to social services that night, but she never left his thoughts. He’d formed an instant bond and connection with the infant that was named “April” by social services after the month that she was found. She was later renamed Kiran Sheikh after being adopted by a family.
Over the next seven years, Campbell frequently contacted social services and gave them gifts, cards and money for Sheikh. He even offered to adopt her but they asked him to stop trying to make contact. He wasn’t eligible to adopt her because he was a single man.
“I asked if I could keep in contact, I was told no, that’s not possible. I asked if I could find out how she was doing, and I was told no, that's not possible,” Campbell told ITV.
Sheikh learned at 8 years old that she was adopted. Social services didn’t, however, mention Campbell. It wouldn’t be until Sheikh turned 18 and received her file from social services that she learned about the man that had simply been labeled a “Good Samaritan.”
Sheikh took to social media for help to find the nameless stranger who’d found her and spent so much effort to just know her.
“I realised I was adopted when I was about 8, because I began noticing that I didn’t look or seem like my parents. It has been difficult but now I am really focused on finding the man who rescued me from the phone box so I can say thank you. The main purpose is to get to him. And if I’m lucky, my mum may want to contact me too,” she said.
Her efforts paid off over 20 years later as the baby and her savior were reunited.
Reunited At Last
At 22 years old, Sheikh’s search finally paid off on July 28, 2016. Campbell, then 52, saw her plea and immediately reached out to her. It would be a hug two decades overdue.
“It was one of the happiest days of my life because I never stopped looking for her. I was always hopeful that someday, somehow I would find her before I finally part this world. ... She is my family. I told her you’ve got siblings. Ok, we’re not blood-related but it's like we are,” Campbell said.
“I am so overwhelmed, this is unbelievable. I've been waiting 15 years to meet him and he's finally here. He was the second person to hold me after my mother, it's incredible,” Sheikh said, adding that the reunion made her hopeful that one day, she would also get to meet her birth mother.
Sheikh said she wasn’t resentful or angry over her mother’s choice to leave her in a London phone booth that night.
It has since been revealed that two years after abandoning Sheikh, the mother, who is English, was taken to the hospital to give birth to her eighth child. While there, she told the staff that she was in a violent relationship.
"Throughout her pregnancy with me she was so scared. She didn't get any treatment or go to the hospital.
“On April 30, she went into labor with me while at home. She was in labor all day and my dad fell asleep so she gave birth in the bathroom, completely alone. She then wrapped me up and made me really, really warm and she ran with me to the phone box,” Sheikh said.
Shortly after giving birth for the eighth time, her mother once again disappeared, although Sheikh is not giving up hope that one day, they too, will be reunited.
What do you think of Joe Campbell’s actions that night in 1994? Do you think social services were right in keeping his identity from Kiran Sheikh? Let us know and pass this on to friends and family who need some heartwarming stories right now.