22 years ago a California police officer saved the life of a 6-week-old baby girl whom he found on a bed next to her meth-addicted mother and clearly the victim of neglect.
Now, that same baby girl at age 22 began her career in law enforcement and experienced the surprise of her life: meeting that officer at her graduation.
“My (adoptive) mom sat me down…she was like, I found the officer that saved your life,” said Natalie Young.
Natalie admitted “When I tell you I couldn’t even speak. He’s coming to my graduation? She said he’s going to pin the badge on you!”
Natalie says she always knew a police officer had saved her as a baby and had always wanted a career in law enforcement because of him. She expressed to her mom that she wished there was a way she could thank him. She did. After several calls, her mom contacted Sgt. Jeff Valdivia, who still works with the Escondido Police Dept. “Personally, I feel blessed just to have found out what happened to her,” Sgt. Valdivia said. Valdivia says he still remembers the day 22 years ago when he responded to a house in south Escondido and found baby Natalie on a bed with a meth pipe nearby. “She was underweight…and of course the house was a mess,” he said. Natalie was placed in protective custody and adopted on New Year's Day.
Recently, Natalie and Sgt. Valdivia had the reunion neither thought would ever happen.
“I could never re-experience that feeling,” said Natalie, describing the moment she was able to catch up with Sgt. Valdivia and thank him in-person. right before he pinned her badge at her graduation ceremony. Here's the coverage of the event from a local TV station: