Deirdre Taylor, 40, is an emergency room nurse who currently resides in Alexandria, Virginia with her husband and two children. Recently, however, she left Virginia for New York for a two-month period to fight against the coronavirus pandemic at the NYU Langone Hospital in Brooklyn in New York, which was one of the worst-affected cities in the United States.
Along with her belongings, Taylor also carried one of her most dear possessions that she had safely held onto for over three decades: a front-page newspaper article documenting Taylor’s rescue from a burning New York City apartment by a firefighter in 1983.
The picture on the newspaper clip shows Taylor at a mere age of four with Eugene Pugliese, the firefighter who saved her life.
Taylor wondered whether this was the opportune time to meet Pugliese, whom she had tried to search for multiple times online. However, all her efforts were in vain as she came up with blank searches. Often times, she would think of the man who had saved her life and wonder what he would be doing currently.
“I always knew I came close to losing my life that day,” Taylor told CNN. “Without him, I wouldn’t be here. I had a second chance at life, thanks to him.”
During one of her shifts in the hospital, Taylor happened to speak to a firefighter and discuss this incident of her early life. He promptly called the current captain of New York City Fire Department (FDNY) Ladder 20 in Manhattan, who was more than ready to help with the details of Pugliese.
Taylor soon called Pugliese, now 75 years old, and was overwhelmed and ecstatic to hear his voice.
“I wondered about him on 9/11 and hoped I would get the chance to thank him, and I finally did,” said Taylor.
Meanwhile, Pugliese admitted to having the same article framed on his wall and said of the phone call, “The two of us just sat there crying on the phone.”
Pugliese has a vivid memory of that day in the December of 1983. He was in the SoHo neighborhood of Manhattan when a man told him that a building of a loft apartment close by had caught fire. Pugliese rescued a woman who said that her little daughter was inside the apartment. So, he went back and saw a four year old, lying unconscious in the apartment. Pugliese gave the little girl mouth-to-mouth resuscitation until she became conscious.
Like Taylor, he too had often wondered what had happened to this little girl that he had saved and had been awarded the Walter Scott Medal for Valor for.
Taylor and Pugliese have spoken a couple of times since reconnecting and plan to meet when things get more safe. They have bonded beautifully and realized that they have quite a few things in common, including their love for Yankees!
Isn’t this an absolutely heartwarming story? Do let us know your views about it in the comments section below.